The ongoing battle to protect the Cape mountain leopard from being killed has been one man’s focus, writes John Yeld.
THEY move like shadows through the rugged mountain landscapes – graceful, silent, merging almost invisibly with the shapes and shadows of the steep, rocky, fynbos-clad slopes where they spend most of their time.
And, while your chances of seeing one of these beautiful wild creatures are exceedingly remote, you can be sure that if one is around, it will have seen you. This is the Cape mountain leopard, one of the most intriguing yet enigmatic animals around because of its secretive, solitary nature.
Since the demise of the lion and the hyena to the guns of the European colonialists in previous centuries, the Cape mountain leopard has been the apex predator of the fynbos region of the Western Cape, although it is now effectively restricted to wilderness mountain areas like the Cederberg and the Boland mountains.