[I hope you enjoyed your break from my blog posts, and the first 2020 posts’s 7000 mile detour back to Maine. I am not quite done with leopards, though. No self-discipline, really.]
This leopard in the Serengeti had two teenage cubs, and they were returning from hunting early one morning. She rubbed herself against an overhanging tree to scent-mark her territory, sniff another leopard’s scent, or maybe just scratch an itch:
Then she moved towards a large rock formation, where she had stashed the kill:
This shot gives a better sense of the rocky outcrops the leopards favor; they are the perfect place from which to mount an ambush of an unwary passing prey animal:
And here is the mother again, posing like a 1930’s Hollywood starlet, except that this coat is truly hers :
A different leopard, but I couldn’t resist the Eartha Kitt vibe:
The IUCN classifies the leopard as Vulnerable, and the fur trade is one major threat to their survival. Apart from international buyers, local people use the skins as ceremonial garb, so a project is trying to encourage the use of synthetic furs instead, and seems to be having a surprising amount of success:
Still, I yearn for the days when there was a balance between wildlife survival and local traditions, undistorted by the outside demand for skins.