Leopard matching at Chimp&See
by AnLand moderator
We will start leopard matching at Chimp&See!
This is a side project that allows the science team to assess predator density at the research sites.
As with the chimp matching, everybody can contribute to this task, make matching proposals, discuss, and finally name the leopards. Leopards can be identified by their individually recognizable fur pattern of dark rosettes and spots on a yellowish background. Further marks like injuries, scars, and cuts in ears can be taken into account.
We plan to approach this task together with the science team in the following way:
- Annotating each leopard video with a #leopard tag and the site name (e.g. #AgedViolet)
- Determining and hashtagging the sex (if visible) of the leopard
- Add tags for the visible body side(s) of the leopard to allow direct pattern comparison
- Establish a known/prospective leopard list
- Discuss matching proposals on a dedicated discussion board
A tutorial for leopard matching has been published.
To kick-off this activity, we want to ask you to add the following hashtags to leopard videos.
Sex and age group ( #male, #female, #cub )
Leopards are sexually dimorphic, i.e., the males and females have different body sizes. Females are considerably smaller and more slender built, but an overlap (big female/small male) is possible. This is often only in direct comparison assessable and alone not sufficient to determine sex.
Male leopards have visible testicles directly under the tail. If you see them, you can be sure that this is a male.
If an adult is seen with cubs (usually one to three), you can be sure that it is a female (the mother). Leopards are solitary animals and a family consists of a female and her most recent offspring(s).
Adult individuals (or apparent adults) being together could be a mating pair, a mother with her almost grown-up offspring(s), or nearly grown-up siblings walking together.
Tagging leopard body sides ( #right_side, #left_side, #back_side, #front_side )
Please tag all visible body sides of the individual(s) in each leopard video, independent from whether you think this individual can be matched at all and nothing is really seen. If a leopard is moving around and shows different body sides, please add a hashtag each for the sides seen to enable tag groups.
#right_side and #left_side
This hashtag refers to the animal’s own body side as seen from the camera. That means: if an individual is facing to the right side of the screen, you can see its right body side. If an individual is facing the left frame, you see the left side of its body.
#front_side and #back_side
The front side tag should be applied to all views of the face of the leopard, forehead, and also the visible fur pattern of the throat.
The back side tag refers to the back view of the animal while walking away from the camera, i.e. basically the tail and what is seen from the hind limbs and back. But this hashtag also includes the view of a leopard very close to the camera when the head had already passed and we can only see the back and tail root from above.
We will build up the Leopard Discussion Board in the “Chat” section in the next days and will provide a detailed tutorial how to attempt matchings and show others some proof for your opinion in the next two weeks. Additionally, we will move all earlier leopard threads to the new board to keep the discussions about these amazing cats together.
The Known / Prospective Leopards list has been started. Please have a look.
We are looking forward to discuss leopards with you! As always: all questions and comments are very welcome!
Cool! But I haven't even seen one leopard video clip yet in all my thousands. Are there many?
At the moment, we've found approx. 340 videos with leopards from different sites. This is the tag group with all leopards.
We've seen leopards in Central Africa at Quiet Wood, at the savannah site Dry Like and in the West African sites: Cool Silence, Red Water, Muddy Frost, Dawn Bird, and now many more at the current site Aged Violet. So, that's quite something.
by MimiA scientist, moderator
This is so cool @AnLand and so important for our work understanding chimpanzee predators - thanks for setting it all up! Looking forward to seeing more matches 😄 !
by AnLand moderator
I mentioned above that the science team is interested in the leopards because they also prey on chimpanzees (as well as on monkeys, ungulates, and small mammals). To give you an idea about the size of chimps and leopards, here a direct comparison between a female chimp (and her infant) with a big male leopard at the same site (and only less than an hour apart: ACP000g13i and ACP000g13k). You see that the hips are at the same height. Chimps are not some small prey!
Exciting project - seem to be seeing quite a few leopards at aged violet
Yes , I have definitely seen a couple around.