Sunday, April 09, 2006

African farmers kill 17 leopards

Leopard image changes its spots in Eastern Cape


April 09, 2006, 14:45


A new project has been launched in the Eastern Cape to conserve one of the big five. The Eastern Cape Leopard and Predator Project aims to rescue leopards - as well as other predators - in the region. The three part initiative is designed to save injured predators, especially in stock-farming areas.


A two and a half year old leopard is being used to educate the public about this endangered species.


Bool Smuts, a doctor at the Landmark Foundation, says: “The second component of this project, is actually just to understand leopards better to manage them properly which will hopefully lead to the meat green-labelling initiative which is the ultimate solution we believe; to establish a leopard-friendly brand that which will incentives’ farmers not to hunt predators, but learn more from predators being on their land.”


Farmers kill off 17 cats

At least 17 leopards have been killed in the western part of the Eastern Cape in three years as the result of the conflict between predators and stock farmers. The cats are usually shot, poisoned or caught in gin traps. Just last weekend, a pregnant leopard was rescued from this farmer's property. The rescue - including a helicopter flight - came days before the project's launch.


Kevin van Wyk, a farmer in the area, says: “We manage the vermin as best we can and use various methods: Anatolian dogs and gin trips. I must admit i don't enjoy using them – I prefer to use the cages, which is why I’m interested to see what they have today.”


Conserving leopards here will also boost tourism - with the leopard completing the big five package in the area. The leopard is most easily recognised by its rosette patterned coat and extremely long, darker tail. The leopard is a versatile hunter and generally nocturnal in its pursuit of prey - however the increased frequency of hunting found in the female raising young often leads to more opportunist hunting during daylight hours.,2172,125353,00.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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