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Leopard Mystery Project

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Shayamanzi Wildlife ranch and leopards

25 January 2013

 

Game farm owners, hunters, business people and conservationists in the game industry will probably always remain divided into two camps regarding leopards: for and against. The ideal would be to find a balance among all the convincing arguments and to study the true, scientific facts about the keeping and behavior of leopards.

Jannie Parsons, owner of Shayamanzi game farm in the Waterberg says leopards have been part of their experience for the past 21 years and for the last ten years they have been occupied with the leopard project. Here, on the farm between Vaalwater and Lephalale (Ellisras), the driving force of the project is to unravel the mystery surrounding the leopard, relying more on facts than perceptions. "In 2001, for a whole year, four students did a full time study of the predators on the farm, specifically focusing on leopards. This project has grown into a major, all encompassing leopard project where technology, and especially cameras, are utilised around the clock in an effort to understand more of the leopards" Jannie explains.

With the technology at their disposal, researchers have for the past five years gathered numerous facts, but just as many questions have arisen. According to Jannie there is enormous opposition against leopards. "It would be interesting to know what exactly the people who take part in the discussions, base their information on. When we show some of our photos, videos and information to the personnel on the farm, who have worked there for 20 years, there is enormous surprise, but also honesty when they say: ´Yes, every time we learn something more about the tiger (leopard), which we didn´t know´."

Shayamanzi´s leopard project is divided into four phases. Each phase is more or less a replica of the the previous phase, differing only in the focus that shifts to a larger area in each phase with different feeding programmes.

 

PHASE 2: LEOPARD FREEDOM:

Here 10-ha camps are used which have a similar environment to the bushveld. One half of the camp consists of open savannah and the other half houses large trees and rocky ridges. When going to press... (Become a subscriber for more)

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