Living on the edge: There’s a leopard on my stoep

Living on the edge: There’s a leopard on my stoep
Published: 03 November 2016

Following the hype and excitement of the recent leopard sighting in Gordon’s Bay, we thought it prudent to share some info on what to do in a situation like this. As human housing and development encroaches further on our natural areas, it is increasingly likely that people and wildlife will bump into each other occasionally. Worldwide, habitat loss and fragmentation are major threats to biodiversity. The increasing human population puts ever greater pressure on natural habitats – the homes of our animal neighbours… While most of us would be pretty content with seeing a little duiker or grysbok, a mongoose, genet or even a caracal in our gardens, we’re not quite comfortable with the idea of a top predator (like a leopard) in a residential area. The latter does not happen often but is not unheard of, especially where areas of human habitation border large areas of natural mountainous habitat.

What should you do if you see a leopard or other wildlife that needs help? Remember that these are wild animals and that no matter how cute they seem, keep a safe distance. Do not try to approach, corner or catch a wild animal. Wild animals usually are more afraid of you than you are of it, so rather retreat slowly (facing the animal) to keep it from panicking. Try to familiarise yourself with the local wildlife authority in your area and their contact details (like you do with the fire department, emergency services and police).

Please report displaced or injured wildlife as soon as possible to a wildlife authority so that the animal can get the support it needs in the shortest time possible.

Useful links and contact details

It is a great privilege for us to share our space with incredible creatures, let’s make sure we know how to do the right thing!

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icon no trap The Cape Leopard Trust’s position statement on acceptable trapping techniques for carnivore research

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