Leopards of the Cape celebrated in new book

Published: 01 March 2023

The Cape Leopard Trust is thrilled to announce the release of a new coffee table book, Against the Odds – The remarkable story of leopards at the Cape, that celebrates these big cats and conservation efforts to protect them. Endorsed by Dame Jane Goodall, with a Foreword by Dr Ian McCallum and magnificent cover image by National Geographic photographer Steve Winter, the 144-page hard cover book is a visual feast with high quality photographs that reveal the magnificence of leopards at the Cape. The book, written in accessible narrative style by environmental journalist John Yeld, explores the early history and persecution of leopards in the region and how attitudes to these cats have changed over the past 400-odd years. It delves into the birth and coming of age of leopard research and conservation at the Cape, with a focus on the Cape Leopard Trust and the people on the ground who have made the organisation what it is today. The book features poignant personal accounts from various role players who have dedicated much time and effort to secure a future for leopards, and shines a light on the importance of these truly wild and elusive felines.

The book was made possible thanks to generous funding from the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust.

Book synopsis
‘The presence of leopards as apex predators is essential to the health of the Cape Floristic Region” ~ Jane Goodall

Elusive, mysterious, ghost-like …

Many people are unaware that leopards still roam the wild mountain regions of the Cape and occasionally venture down into adjacent areas in valleys and even the coastal strip. Intensely shy, these reclusive cats are almost never seen, but they reveal their iconic presence in evocative camera trap photographs and through other signs like spoor and scat. The same subspecies as leopards that occur elsewhere throughout Africa, but significantly smaller and with some unique traits, the leopards at the Cape have survived centuries of persecution and hunting – some say miraculously. Now, they have full legal protection (although contraventions still occur) and are widely, if not universally, celebrated for their magnificent physical presence and crucial role as apex predators.

This book tells the remarkable story of leopards at the tip of Africa, and of the Cape Leopard Trust’s efforts to ensure these ‘ghost cats’ continue to survive.

Against the Odds is available for sale at the CLT online shop at a cost of R395 (excluding shipping), go to bit.ly/CLTAgainstTheOdds