The Elusive Cape Leopard

September 30, 2013

Elusive and mysterious, this shadow-walking predator is just one of the species which reside on Gondwana Game Reserve. occupy a home range of between 120-250km2 and despite what many believe, Cape Leopards do not only prowl caves but rather find appropriate areas to rest as they move. Preying upon dassies, small antelope and mice, the Cape Leopard rarely includes group-living animals in their diet as they usually hunt alone.

With less than 1000 Cape Leopards remaining in the wild, Gondwana Conservation efforts are heavily underway. Regarded as a “problem-animal” (a damage causing animal) on farms within the Cape, the Cape Leopard is being largely hunted out due to their instinctual killing of livestock. With Conservation efforts being poured into the protection of these majestic predators, farmers and conservation groups are slowly but surely starting to find a common ground between the removal of these animals on livestock farms and moving them to reserves such as Gondwana Game Reserve.  In an attempt to catch a glimpse of this obscure predator as well as learn about their movements, behaviour and breeding, Gondwana’s wildlife team members as well as guides have started a monitoring project around these animals. Placing stealth cameras in areas which could possibly be home to Cape Leopards such as caves and rocky mountain slopes, caves alike are being scouted for spoor and scat as well as any indicators that they may have passed by. Previous attempts in monitoring  and tracking the Cape Leopard on Gondwana have resulted in findings of prey carcasses hanging in trees, spoor and scat.

Having been unsuccessful in our treasure hunt for a clear photograph of this mysterious predator thus far, efforts are still in the foundation phase. Until then…the hunt shall continue..

Written by Taylor Hawkins

Cape Leopard

Image: source