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Thread: Cape Leopards

  1. Default Cape Leopards

    Cape Leopards are considered to be shy nocturnal/crepuscular mammals, they certainly are "around" and sightings of them on the streams are rare but do happen from time to time.

    I have been involved with the Cape Leopard Trust's Limietberg project which includes the Witte river catchment and assisted in finding a suitable site and setting up a double camera trap in the vicinity of the top end of Witte beat 6.

    Two leopards frequent this area (photos courtesy of Cape Leopard Trust) - see their site for more info

    Beat 6 trap got a glimpse of this fella - a male called merlot whose territory spans over into the slanghoek valley too...

    Another camera trap located close to the weir on Witte beat 4 caught this male kitty called Doc Martins

    The following is an extract from Cape Town section of the mountain club of South Africa's newsletter regarding a leopard incident in the mountains and makes for some very interesting reading.

    Hopefully, one day I will see one of these creatures in mountains (just not in the way these guys did)

    Who would have thought...

    "We camped in the usual campsite in the kloof below the face. It is a seldom visited spot, very remote and beautiful in a tree-filled kloof below the huge rock walls. We cooked our supper, chatted until we dozed off and settled down to a well-deserved sleep.

    In the middle of the night I heard a rustling of a plastic packet right next to my ear, followed by the sound of my helmet being bumped. I woke up to the sound and thought it must be a field mouse raiding my packet. Irritated, I turned on my headlamp to chase the critter away and saw, to my immense surprise, a fully grown leopard, not a metre away, crouching down and looking straight at me. He had been sniffing at the rice grains on my plate, not six inches from my ear. We stared at one another for what felt like an hour, but was probably ten seconds. I had no idea if this was my last moment before being attacked. It was clear that he (I’ll call it a ‘he’, for now), was curious: what I didn’t know was if he was curious, or curious and very hungry. He was a large adult, immensely powerful, gazing at me with an unblinking stare. Eventually, I shouted, which woke Gavin and Cesar. The leopard backed off a metre or two, and looked back at us, quite unperturbed. Gavin threw a stone, and we shouted some more. This did little to frighten him but, slowly and completely silently, he disappeared into the darkness.

    Terrified, we lit a fire.

    Ten minutes later, I saw two green eyes illuminated by the light of my headlamp, not ten metres way. The fire had simply illuminated us and left the leopard able to see us while we could not see him. From 11:30 until dawn we kept vigil, and our leopard kept prowling around. The kloof echoed with his roars and growls: night time has a way of amplifying sounds. We were truly terrified.

    Of course, at the time it did not occur to me to ask the leopard to hold still a moment while I looked in my rucksack for my camera. Such things only occur to you much later.

    As light filled the kloof we realised that he had been much closer than we had thought. I have no doubt that, had he wanted to, he could have eaten whoever he wanted. He had clearly sniffed at my face while I was asleep and I had no idea. He was not afraid of fire and was not nearly as shy as I would have expected."
    "We all fish for our own enjoyment - me for mine and you for yours, nobody can say what is right and what is wrong." - Jim Leisenring

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Cape Town


    What he probaly forgot to mention, is that it called for a change of underpants as well.
    Korrie Broos

    Don't go knocking on Death's door, ring the bell and run like hell. He hates it. (anon)
    Nymphing, adds depth to your fly fishing.
    Nymphing, is fly fishing in another dimension

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