The Cape Leopard Trust - Using research as a tool for conservation & finding solutions to human-wildlife conflict
Wednesday, 25 August 2010 07:02

Introducing Zak, the wandering leopard

The Cape Leopard Trust’s Gouritz project team recently obtained data from the first leopard to be collared in the area, a young adult male named Zak. Zak’s capture was something of an unexpected bonus, as he appeared in a cage over 20km away from where he had been previously photographed, in an area where we were attempting to capture another male leopard. Since his capture, Zak’s movements have been monitored using a tracking collar, providing valuable insight into the behaviour of leopards in the Gouritz area.

During the first six weeks after capture, Zak moved over an area of nearly 400 km2. However, the bulk of his time was spent in two relatively small areas; one to the north of the Rooiberg Mountain, close to Calitzdorp, and the second south-east of the Rooiberg Mountain. Zak would spend several days in an area, and then rapidly move across the Rooiberg to the area on the other side of the mountain, covering in excess of 20km in less than a day – an incredible feat given the terrain involved. Interestingly, Zak spends relatively little time on the high ground of the Rooiberg itself, preferring to occupy the lower foothills.

A likely reason for this unusual movement pattern is the presence of another male leopard on the Rooiberg Mountain. Our camera traps have regularly photographed a large male, named Oom Pep, on and around the Rooiberg, and we suspect that Oom Pep’s territory bisects that of Zak. Zak therefore hastens between his two main territorial areas to reduce the risk of an encounter with Oom Pep. Unfortunately we have not yet been able to capture and collar Oom Pep, but it will be fascinating to see how these two males interact with one another in the future.

Another possible explanation for this behaviour is that Zak simply prefers hunting in the spekboom thicket vegetation that covers the rolling foothills around the Rooiberg, rather than in the fynbos that covers the higher altitudes of the Rooiberg itself. Vegetation type and altitude are likely to influence the type and abundance of prey available, and it could be that the areas occupied by Zak have more available prey than the Rooiberg. Zak appears to have developed a taste for an unusual (and potentially hazardous) type of prey, and we look forward to sharing this information with you in our next update!

The Cape Leopard Trust Trapping Techniques

icon no trapShort overview of three trapping methods considered by the Cape Leopard Trust as safe and humane: Cage traps, Foot loop traps or Foot snares, Soft-catch traps, References to relevant scientific literature.

Read more

Latest News Updates

  • Leopard hit by car in Bainskloof - Death of BM30

    Leopard hit by car in Bainskloof - Death of BM30

    On Thursday 16 Feb 2017, a leopard was hit by a car in Bainskloof Pass near Wellington. The animal sustained severe injuries, including a broken back as well as internal trauma, and sadly had to be put down. The Cape Leopard Trust Boland Project was notified of the incident by partner organisation CapeNature,…
    Written on Tuesday, 21 February 2017 11:39
  • Vacancy: Community Outreach Officer in the Cederberg

    Vacancy: Community Outreach Officer in the Cederberg

    The Cape Leopard Trust is seeking to appoint a suitably qualified Community Outreach Officer to manage its community outreach programme in the Cederberg district and run its environmental education camps at Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve in the Cederberg. The successful candidate will be physically fit, will have experience in establishing and managing community development…
    Written on Tuesday, 14 February 2017 14:56

logo capeleopard absa cape epic

  • Rand Merchant_Bank
  • FNB
  • SA MINT
  • Sandown Motors
  • WWF
  • K-WAY
  • Leopards Leap Wines
  • Bushmans Kloof
  • bridgestone
  • AVIS
  • Deutsche Bank
  • wilderness safaris
  • ABAX
  • BJK Investments
  • Woolworths
  • Rolf Stephan Nussbaum Foundation
Promotional Slideshow