Rare pictures of the elusive and vulnerable Cape Mountain Leopard have been released, which will also help conservationists protect the species.
The stunning pictures were taken at the defence manufacturer, Rheinmetall Denel Munition’s Wellington site. The company had donated cameras to the Cape Leopard Trust, to set up their cameras on the property.
These were the very first pictures to be captured by the new cameras.
PR Manager at Rheinmetall Denel Munition Ruby Maree says the cameras as part of a partnership between the NGO and the defence manufacturer in the conservation of the Cape mountain leopard.
In the process, additional information has also been gleaned on other animal species in the area, resulting in scientists being able to further their work to protect vulnerable wildlife.
“The RDM Wellington site is situated within the Cape mountain leopard habitat and we decided to partner with CLT to promote the conservation of the local leopard population. We have donated two camera traps towards CLT’s applied research on leopards.”
Cape mountain leopards (Panthera pardus pardus) are much smaller – by about half the body mass – than those found elsewhere in Africa. On average, males weigh in at around 35 kg, and females weigh around 20 kg. Despite Cape mountain leopards being smaller than other leopards, their home ranges are actually much larger. Male leopards in the Kruger National Park have a home range of 25 to 50 km², but the ranges of Cape mountain leopards are more than eight times that size, at between 200 and 1 000 km².
Leopards in Africa are classified as ‘Vulnerable’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, but leopards in the Cape are more threatened than other leopards because of urbanisation and limited suitable habitat.
Other interesting animals caught on the cameras include aardvark, bat-eared foxes and porcupines, all of which play an important role in the farming that continues to be the major industry in the vicinity.
Click below to see the amazing pictures (PDF file):
Also visit The Cape Leopard Trust WEBSITE to find out more about their work.