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August 2013 Wildland article (Article only published in Afrikaans)

17 October 2013

Shayamanzi leopard mystery project

www.leopard.tvWell-known artists help with raising leopard awareness
THE EYES OF SECRET: This is this special leopard project’s theme song. Well-known artists have sung this song and in this way help to convey an important conservation message. It makes sense to ask for hunters’ support for this project, as most hunters hunt for reasons of meat and biltong and will seldom kill predators without reason. Leopards are an endangered species and are “begging” someone to tell their story, accept them as part of creation and allow them a place in the sun too. After 24 years at Shayamanzi and a leopard project of 12 years during which 27 leopards have been handled, watched, photographed and of which most have been released, and after hundreds of hours on film recorded day and night and during summer and winter, these beautiful, shy, lone cats remain a mystery.
It is interesting to hear the many stories and remarks about these cats, although more often than not the game farmers have not actually seen leopards on their farms. Few things will cause a male leopard to run away… except humans. Why? What do their eyes see, for millions of years already, when they look at humans? Are the things told about leopards facts or perceptions, considering that their numbers are dwindling? Maybe it would help if leopards get the chance to tell their own stories on camera, as what is told and retold by people seem to reduce the leopard’s chance of survival.
This is exactly what Shayamanzi does. Unmanned cameras are situated in the veld and around the leopard camps and controlled via internet from Pretoria. Piece by piece, bit by bit and photo by photo the secrets in their eyes are unravelled and they at long last get a chance to tell their own stories.
Have a look and listen to the stories of the Shayamanzi leopards. Read Prof J du P Bothma’s interpretations
and Jannie’s experiences at www.leopard.tv, listen to the songs dedicated to the leopards and only then judge on their right to exist, the “damage done” and their begging for survival.
www.leopard.tvThe leopard is part of the Big Five and probably the most beautiful and most popular animal that draws many tourists to spend their dollars in this country. Dollars that are exchanged for many rands to help strengthen the economy and to help create a better life for thousands of South Africans. Ironically, the Big Five are fighting for survival and little of the thousands of dollars is used to protect and conserve this top export/tourism product for future
generations.
Please read the lyrics of the song, The Eyes of Secrets on the music video. See, experience and think about the words and leopard images in slow motion and tell this story to others, family, friends and children.
The leopards in the video were filmed at the Shayamanzi camps. The two females are Zaza and Ziana, leopards that have been watched and filmed for over six years. Stories, incidents and songs can be seen, listened to and bought at www.leopard.tv. May all the leopard characters’ stories and secrets assist to keep these secretive eyes visible for a long time to come.
Install “Tag reader” on your cell phone, use the camera on the phone to see 30 seconds of the song The eyes of Secrets, sung by Bobby van Jaarsveld. Use the SMS key word and codes below to become a subscriber of www.leopard.tv, to buy songs and to win Leopard lucky draw prizes. - Jannie Parsons.
E-mail to: info@leopard.tv
www.leopard.tvwww.leopard.tvwww.leopard.tv
www.leopard.tvLEOPARD-LUCKY-DRAWS are done every second month for the buyers of songs and subscribers to www.leopard.tv.

P.S.   In the next edition of Wildland, Zaza, the female leopard at Shayamanzi, will be discussed.

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