“Secretive, silent, smooth and supple as a piece of silk, he is an animal of darkness, and even in the dark he travels alone.”
Panthera’s Leopard Program Is Saving Lives
Two years ago we wrote about a new idea to help save the wild leopard, one of the world’s most persecuted big cats. The beautiful fur of the leopard is highly sought after and to make matters worse, today the demand for leopard skin is increasing among members of South Africa’s Shembe Baptist Church, which has adopted the Zulu practice of wearing spotted cat fur, mostly leopard, during religious celebrations. Even though trade in leopard skins is illegal in South Africa, the Shembe’s estimated 5 million members were spreading the practice.
Tristan Dickerson, Panthera’s Leopard Program Coordinator visited several Shembe gatherings to research the amount of leopard skins being used at these events. It was estimated that nearly 1,000 leopard skins were either worn or being sold at just one of the gatherings that he attended.
Tristan spent a year working with designers and clothing companies to create high quality and affordable fake leopard skins, which he presented at Shembe gatherings. At one event, there was a large number of fake leopard skins being worn by children and elders, and this was a sign of hope for Africa’s leopard populations.
The Snow Leopard is Asia’s Mountain Ghost
The Snow Leopard’s secretive and elusive nature combined with the precarious and remote landscape they inhabit have made conservation data collection efforts difficult and even less is known about snow leopard cubs survival in the wild. The cat is so evasive it has been given the name “Asia’s Mountain Ghost” by the natives of Mongolia’s Tost Mountains.
Up until now, snow leopard breeding studies were conducted on individuals in a captive zoo environment. Captive snow leopard litters typically consist of one to three cubs but no information is available about litter size in the wild. Wild snow leopard cubs are exposed to not only natural predators and disease but also human threats such as poaching and the illegal wildlife market. The wild snow leopard’s chance of survival to adulthood has only been speculated.
Unprecedented Footage of Snow Leopard Mother and Cubs
Cat of a Different Color
African leopards normally have tawny colored coats with black spots, but an unusual male leopard, with a coat of a different color, has been sighted in the South Africa Madikwe Game Reserve. This leopard has a pink tone to his coat and has been named the “Strawberry Leopard”.
One of a Kind Cat
Friends, did you know that you can identify a lion from the whisker spots that are found in rows on each side of the face? We learned that we can also identify a male lion by his mane in our post Lion Guardians Give Each Lion a Maasai Name, but a mane can change throughout the lion’s life depending upon age and health. Only the whisker spots remain unchanged throughout a lion’s life.