Copter saves pregnant leopard
03/04/2006 23:18 - (SA)
Mariska Petzer-Spoormaker, Die Burger
Steytlerville - A pregnant leopard's life was saved dramatically here on Sunday after she had been caught in a trap.
An emergency flight by helicopter, an emergency landing and an overland race were all part of the operation which lasted almost 11 hours.
Dr Bool Smuts of the Landmark Foundation which focuses on saving leopard and other predatory animals, said the whole drama started about 11:00 on Sunday.
Kevin van Wyk immediately phoned the Jeffrey's Bay branch of
Nature conservationist Gerrie Ferreira phoned the Landmark Foundation immediately and the rescue operation shifted into high gear.
JP Kleynhans rushed to Van Wyk's farm to anaesthetise the trapped leopard while Smuts arranged for the helicopter, the pilot and vet Dr Ross Cobus, who had to accompany the animal.
Chopper forced to land
Smuts said: "About 16:00 that afternoon we reached the animal on the farm, administered more anaesthetic and by about 16:15 we could take off to get the leopard to the
By this time everyone was satisfied that the animal, which had no fractures from setting off the trap, could be saved and released into the wild.
But then the weather changed and thick mist forced the rescue team to make an emergency landing at the Kuzuku Nature Reserve on the northern side of Addo.
Safe to release her
One of Kuzuku's bakkies was borrowed and the team raced on in the vehicle to meet the Addo staff at
Through all the drama, the vet was able to establish without any doubt that it would be safe to release the leopard immediately in her new home.
"Gangrene hadn't set in yet - probably the best indication that farmer van Wyk checks his traps daily," said Smuts.
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
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