Monday, April 03, 2006

Africa Copter saves pregnant leopard

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 Eastern Cape nature conservation when he found the leopard caught in a trap on his farm.


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 National Addo Elephant Park.


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 Olifantshoek Pass, so that the leopard could eventually be taken to their facilities.


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.,,2-7-1442_1910277,00.html


For the cats,


Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue

an Educational Sanctuary home

to more than 100 big cats

12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625

813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

Sign our petition here:


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