Cape Leopards frequent mtb route

2012-11-01 12:11
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Because of their notoriously shy and elusive nature, Cape Leopards are some of the most mysterious creatures in the whole of South Africa. Lurking around in the folded mountain ranges of the Western Cape, these beautiful beasts hardly ever cross paths with humans and when they do, it's an encounter not to be forgotten. 

Fortunately the Cape Leopard Trust's motion sensor cameras have been an invaluable resource, giving nature-lovers a little glimpse into the secret lives of these curious cats. 

Most recently the organizers of Contego Wines2Whales MTB Adventure and Race, happening this weekend and winding its way from Somerset West, through the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve and into Hermanus, announced that no less than three Cape Leopards have been making good use of their picturesque routes.

According to Anita Meyer of the CLT Boland Project, a recent camera checking excursion to the area revealed that two males and one female had been passing by rather frequently. Going by the names of Scott, Popeye and Olive, the leopards each seem to have their own taste in scenery. 

Image: Popeye

"Popeye and Olive have been spotted a number of times on the De Rust routes, while Scott seems to be enjoying the Schapenberg trails. Thanks to the Wines2Whales cameras we have identified a new female that we would not otherwise have picked up on, and we also have new locations for known individuals. As Leopards are such wide-ranging animals, all locations identified by the cameras aid us in forming a rough idea of each individual's home range. The cameras have also once again captured other animals in action such as large-spotted genet, small grey mongoose, porcupine, grysbok, duiker, honey badger and caracal," says Meyer.

Image: Scott

In September 2011 the organizers of the Contego Wines2Whales MTB Adventure and Race powered by Maserati showed their support of the CLT Boland Project by donating five digital camera traps to the project. 

Apart from these specimens caught on camera, another beauty was spotted and photographed just outside the coastal hamlet of Rooi Els recently by birding guide, Tertius Gous. 

Image: Olive

A few Cape Leopard facts:

- The Cape Leopard occurs in the mountain regions of the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape.

- Leopards in the Cederberg are MUCH smaller than those elsewhere in Africa, being about half the mass. Males weigh about 35kg and females only 20kg.

- Cape Leopards have exceptionally large home ranges.

Information on the three leopards spotted on the Wines2Whales route:

- Scott (BM12, Boland Male #12) has been recorded over a very large area stretching from just north of Sir Lowry's Pass, through the Steenbras Mountains and across the Kogelberg Biosphere reserve. 

- Popeye (BM17, Boland Male #17) ranges quite extensively throughout Hottentots-Holland Nature Reserve and the Groenlandberg mountains and has previously been photographed near Houw Hoek Inn. 

- Olive (BF14, Boland Female #14) has been recorded at three locations in the Groenlandberg Reserve within the dominant male BM17's territory.

For more information on the Cape Leopard and the work of the CLT Boland Project.

 
Read more on:    animals  |  travel south africa
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