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February 2014 Wildland article

9 May 2014


...(Read Part 1 of Zoy and his girlfriends)
...(Read Part 3 of Zoy and his girlfriends)

Internet Wildlife channel (www.leopard.tv) and Leopard Breeding and Conservation Project
Zoy and his girlfriends
By Jannie Parsons

Part 2 of 3: Zoy is a male leopard, caught on a game farm near Bela-Bela. Fortunately the game farmer, as many others have also done in the past, decided to spare his life and brought him to Shayamanzi. Although very young at that stage, Zoy was very aggressive, as many other males have been too. Most of the photographs taken of him were of him running, roaring and jumping against the fence. Thus far he and Zorro have been the most aggressive males handled at Shayamanzi. This makes them very unpredictable. When do they jump over the fence, even though the fence is electrified with 10 000 volt, or bite the females, which share the camps with them, to death? With dwindling leopard numbers worldwide and the black market trade increasing because of their beautiful hides, we put much hope in the possibility of Zel and Zoy starting to breed. The general perception is that leopards breed easily in 1 ha camps with natural trees, rocks, holes and shrubs and that the male and female will tolerate each other.
Internet camera history: We did not know what to expect with Zoy and Zel together in one camp. We did know that filming any leopard activity with the internet cameras, from a distance of 250 km from the farm, would be historical moments.
Zoy was fed at the top of the camp and Zel simultaneously at the bottom of the camp to ensure each would eat and not steal one another’s food. Zoy had different plans. I was filming Zel at the bottom of camp 4 where she was eating her meat.  It was clear that she was tense about the male in her camp as she did not look, as usual, to the fence for outside threats, but kept looking to the top of the camp where Zoy was eating – her paws drawn in underneath her, ready to react in a split second. Her eyes kept combing the dense trees, shrubs and grass and her ears turned around restlessly to immediately pick up strange sounds.

Again our cameras helped to film a leopard mystery. Not even Zel, with all her capacities and instincts, saw Zoy coming. Suddenly he was just there. He wasn’t there to play games with her, he was aggressive and only interested in taking her meat.
The video should be looked at a few times and in slow motion to really see and appreciate what happens in split seconds when a male and female leopard attack one another. In normal action it is just impossible to really understand what happened to Zel in these anxious moments. Had Zel survived so many human threats, only to be killed by another leopard? Ironically it was again a human’s idea to put her and a male leopard in the same camp. Why did Zoy decide to attack the beautiful young female to whom he had made advances from an adjoining camp, as if he wanted to kill her? Enough food was regularly put out for them. What happens in the world of a leopard that we as humans probably don’t understand at all?…to be continued next month in part 3.

Install http://gettag.mobi free and watch the 2 second fight.


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