The Cape Leopard Trust recently shared an image of a female leopard with three leopard cubs that was taken on a camera traps at an undisclosed location.
In a Facebook post, Jeannie Hayward of Cape Leopard Trust wrote: ‘Usually there is only one cub, occasionally two. So to find three cubs on one photo is truly a rare occurrence – that is why we are bursting with excitement about this image!’
A leopard’s gestation period is 100 days and the time between litters (birthing period) is two years, according to CLT. ‘Little is known about reproductive success of leopards in the Cape mountains, but it is a very tough environment and cub mortality seems to be high, especially in their first few months,’ wrote CLT.
There are a number of predators that are a threat to the cubs survival. These include black eagles and baboons. If the cubs are under nourished, it poses serious health risks and can result in cub mortality.
‘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,’ said Hayward.
This occurrence is a signal of hope for the leopards of the Cape population as the cubs appear to be in good condition. They are still very young though and not out of the danger zone yet.
Image credit: Facebook/ Cape Leopard Trust