The Cape Leopard Trust received stunning images of a leopard wandering around in the mountainous area of the Western Cape.
The images, captured by Duncan Macduff using a camera trap, were uploaded to their page on Wednesday, 5 May.
The beautiful leopard walked right up to the camera. Cape Leopard are elusive apex predators who survive in the rugged, low nutritional fynbos biome of the Cape mountains. It is uncommon to spot them easily.
“What an absolute thrill to receive a camera trap image sequence like this! After years of devotedly setting and checking his field cameras, Duncan Macduff was rewarded with these epic shots of the king of the mountains! This is another great example of how private camera trap owners are contributing their records to the Cape Leopard Trust,” the post read.
During hard lockdown in 2020, several sightings were reported and much hype was created around wildlife and big cats returning to their natural areas after humans were locked away.
“While this certainly holds true in most cases, there are also a few occasions where the truth is stretched a little (or a lot!), where old photos are used, where reports are represented in the wrong context or where misleading headings and sensationalist tag lines simply try to grab the readers’ attention,” Jeannie Hayward from Cape Leopard trust wrote on their website.
According to Hayward, many people still do not realise that there are wild leopards living free and unfenced in almost all of the mountainous regions of the Western Cape – and that they have been there since long before lockdown – even long before human settlement of the Cape Province.
Cape Leopard Trust was founded by Dr Quinton Martins who began his journey into the study of the wild Cape Leopard in the Cederberg Mountains in 2003.
During his hikes he found signs of leopard in the rugged mountains but was also shocked at the rate at which they were being killed. Martins decided to start research to foster a better relationship between nature and humans, and save them from extinction.