Accurate estimates of predator densities are important for the conservation management of large predator populations. Predator densities outside of protected areas are often understudied and management decisions are based on assumptions of predator numbers. This study conducted three spoor surveys on commercial farmland in Botswana to estimate large predator densities. Brown hyaenas (Hyaena brunnea) were found to occur evenly across both cattle and game farms at higher densities than previously assumed. Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) and leopards (Panthera pardus) were more commonly located on game ranches, at or below population density assumptions. This study demonstrated the importance but difficulties of conducting predator surveys on farmland, where study animals are often at risk of persecution by landowners, due to the perceived or real threat predators may pose to livestock and stocked game.
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Vol. 42 • No. 2