Leopard sighting at Bushmans Kloof

Leopard sighting at Bushmans Kloof
Published: 04 July 2017

During one of our recent camera trap setups in Bushmans Kloof Reserve, we found a cave with a lot of leopard scat close to the location of our camera trap station.

We were very happy, as it was a good indication that we were placing our cameras in the right location. We started the camera trap set up but darkness soon caught us, but we decided to proceed with the setup working in the dark with our head torches as we had already started and wanted to get finished.

At some point, we realised that someone was shining with a spotlight in our direction from the road, +/- 300 m away from us. We thought it was a search party from Bushmans Kloof Lodge coming out to look for us as we had not returned, darkness had fallen and it was late. We did not pay a lot of attention to the lights constantly shining on the rock face behind us as we assumed if it is people looking for us they will soon see our torches and hear our voices and come to us.

After a while, the spotlighting stopped and we heard a car drive off. We finished the camera trap setup and on our return to the reception of Bushmans Kloof we heard from one of the guides that the guests saw a beautiful leopard on top of the rock face in the direction where we were working. Here are some of the photos taken by Bushmans Kloof guide and guests. Upon close inspection of the photo, we recognised the leopard. It was Crystal, an adult female leopard collared by Dr Quinton Martins (former Cederberg Researcher) some years ago. It is great to see that she is healthy and doing well. It is also very exciting to realise how close she was to us, observing secretly and curiously what we were doing without letting us know of her presence.

It just shows how elusive these cats can be!

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