The Cape Leopard is, in our opinion, one of the most majestic creatures on the planet. The Cape Leopard is probably one of the most elusive creatures as well, and you are almost just as lucky to spot one as you would be to spot a Snow Leopard in the Himalayas. These beautiful creatures are also one more reason why we love South Africa so much.
One of the reasons why it is so difficult to spot the Cape Leopard is because of their natural habitat. They are solitary animals, and they love to live in the vast mountainsides. Furthermore, they’re numbers are not great, and in the Walker Bay area there are less than a 1,000 of them roaming freely in the area.
Since these creatures are so elusive, we can thank remote-sensing field cameras for capturing their behaviour and movement. The Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy recently released their clips from these camera traps in a single video for us to enjoy. In the video we can see the footage of a single dominant female called Lumka (AF2).
According to the Cape Leopard Trust, “Leopards are creatures of habit and will mark the same trees and bushes while patrolling well-worn trails. Generally, in the fynbos habitats of the Western Cape, large enough trees are few and far between. But the forested valleys of Walker Bay provide ample scratch posts – and afford researchers a rare opportunity to catch this marking behaviour described above on video.”
Because of their solitary nature, Leopards do not encounter other leopards very often. They therefore communicate to other leopards about their presence, strength and reproductive state by marking sites through the volatile chemical compounds found in their urine, scat and glands.
Another interesting thing about their behaviour is that they will make their markings higher up on the trees to give the impression that they are bigger than they really are.
It would seem that the need to impress and the need to pretend is something not only humans struggle with.
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