Kelly J. Stoner, MESc

2013 TRI Fellow in Tanzania

Counting Cats: Adapting Camera Trap Methodology to Estimate Leopard Populations in Northern Tanzania

From June to August of 2013 I worked with the African People & Wildlife Fund (APW), a nonprofit conservation and research organization in northern Tanzania founded by F&ES alumna Dr. Laly Lichtenfeld, to establish a long-term large carnivore monitoring project. APW is recognized for its innovative, simple, and community-led conservation initiatives. While these programs have been effective at reducing the frequency of lion and leopard attacks on livestock, long-term ecological monitoring is critical to reliably demonstrate their impact on local carnivore populations. As such, I developed a protocol for the monitoring project and piloted this protocol in partnership with APW’s wildlife monitoring officer. The challenge was to adapt methods developed for use in other geographies (i.e. India and South Africa) to the specific landscape in which APW works. Having successfully crafted a protocol that is flexible enough to be used to monitor multiple species but maintains its statistical rigor, I am currently assessing the protocol by producing preliminary results. In the fall of 2013, I am drafting a manuscript detailing our experience, submitting abstracts to upcoming conferences, and writing camera and data management manuals for APW to use to train future employees.