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Meet Anita Wilkinson

Cape Leopard Trust, South Africa

Anita Wilkinson

Meet Anita Wilkinson, who works for the Cape Leopard Trust as a Project Coordinator. We have already introduced you to one of the Cape Leopard Trust team members, Lana Muller and want to introduce to a few of the other incredible women, like Anita, who are part of this dynamic organization.

The Cape Leopard Trust has a three-pillar approach, using research, conservation, and education, to ensure the long term survival of the leopards of the Cape, as well as the ecosystem within which these predators live.

Research is so key to successful conservation, as it gives valuable insight into a species population, behaviors, threats, habitat and ecology. The Cape Leopard Trust has two well-established research projects in the Boland and the Cederberg, which are devoted to understanding the distribution, diet, behavior, and ecology of leopards of the Cape.

Anita is based in the Boland region and has a focus on researching leopard diets, using techniques like leopard-scat analysis. With the results obtained from these studies, she is able to understand the ecological role of local leopard populations and the threats they are facing. These results play a critical role in assisting the Cape Leopard Trust team in alleviating human-wildlife conflict in this region between these predators and local farmers and community members.

Leopards of the Cape are highly elusive, which presents a unique challenge to their conservation. Anita along with her colleague, Jeannie Hayward, has conducted a large-scale camera-trap study, which has helped them further understand the distribution of Cape Leopards in the Boland region.

Both these research projects have provided invaluable insight into leopards of the Cape and have helped the Cape Leopard Trust ensure the protection of these predators in the Boland region. Further to these research projects, Anita is also working to investigate the threats to leopard survival, such as illegal wildlife trade and human-wildlife conflict, as well as possible mitigation measures to these threats within the Boland area.

Leopard Trap Photos Courtesy of Cape Leopard Trust

While being a female working in the field can often be extremely challenging, Anita believes that women also have a natural instinct to be caring and empathetic, which can be very beneficial to conservation work, especially when working with local community members and farmers.

Watch our short film to learn more about Anita and the work she is doing to help protect and conserve the leopards of the Cape.

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Meet Anita Wilkinson

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