Leopard and cubs spotted in Garden Route

Posted on 23 April 2020

Geo Parkes & Sons Timber Merchants located on the Garden Route were pleasantly surprised to find a leopard and her two cubs had been filmed by motion cameras belonging to the company.

The exact location of the animals has not been disclosed in order to protect them from any human threat. The Cape Leopard Trust has clarified that the video was not taken in Jonkershoek.

WhatsApp users have been circulating the video stating that the sighting took place in Jonkershoek and this is, in fact, untrue.

‘While there certainly are leopards in Jonkershoek, this specific clip was not recorded there. Please always make sure to fact check information before sending it on!’ wrote the Cape Leopard Trust in a Facebook post.

The Cape Leopard Trust (CLT) consists of a dedicated team of individuals across various areas who participate in innovative research, conservation and educational projects geared towards promoting the conservation of biological diversity.

In a recent article published by CLT on the topic of leopard sightings and lockdown, Wildlife Biologist Jeannie Hayward wrote that a misconception surrounding leopard sightings and the correlation it has with lockdown has been formed.

‘Many people still do not realise that there are wild leopards living free and unfenced in almost all of the mountainous regions of the Western Cape – and that they have been there since long before lockdown – even long before human settlement of the Cape Province.’

‘Leopards in the Cape mountains are notoriously elusive and shy of people, and the best way to study them is by using remote-sensing field cameras. It’s not unusual to get images of leopards from the mountain slopes above Boland and Overstrand towns like Paarl, Stellenbosch, Grabouw, Gordon’s Bay and Kleinmond, yet so many people are still surprised to find out that they are there.’

‘Since lockdown started in SA, there have been some widely reported photos and sightings of leopards in the Cape Winelands and Overstrand. In some cases, the photos are being touted as being the direct result of lockdown and leopards now suddenly “roaming free”.’

Hawyard explained that the leopards have always roamed these areas and that the sightings don’t necessarily have anything to do with lockdown.

‘It must be added that it is indeed entirely possible for leopards to be a bit bolder and move lower down on mountain slopes than they usually would now that there is so much less human movement and activity. It is of course not just the physical presence of humans that is much less, but also our cacophony of sounds (traffic, construction etc) and smells (exhaust fumes, processing plants etc), which, collectively, usually act as a powerful deterrent to most wildlife.’

Take a look at the footage of the mother leopard and her two cubs below:


Image: Facebook/ Geo Parkes & Sons Timber Merchants/ Screenshot from video

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