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June 2014 Wildland article (Article only published in Afrikaans)

3 July 2014

 

...(Read Part 1 of Zandi)


SHAYAMANZI
Leopards (www.leopard.tv)
Jannie Parsons
Zandi

Part 2 of 2: There is so much that humans can learn from these incredible cats that it makes no sense for humans, especially game farmers, to kill these predators. Their ability to entrench risks individually is unthinkable if one thinks of the two four-months-old leopards to be released in the middle of the African bush and to survive without their mother. Humans struggle to be self-sufficient when they leave home
at, say about 18, and then have the audacity to say that to preserve their own or their farm’s survival, these amazing cats with their incredible ability to survive, should make way for the fragile human species that struggles to survive. I hope that these simple leopard stories are of value to people to survive, or to make a useful contribution to their own life, and those around them, or at least help leopards to survive. Just think of the lessons you can tell your children about strategic thinking, patience, planning, risk entrenchment, persistence, perseverance, making
own choices, etc if they only read the stories of these amazing females. Man should preserve nature and its animals in order to learn from them, and not kill leopards only for own, short-term benefit. In this way you might win the fight, but lose the war. If 10 000 game farmers each save two leopards, even keep them in a natural camp, they win through tourism and the leopard will survive.
Zandi’s name was derived from Ulandi. A family member and a staff member of Shayamanzi for many years.

...(Read Part 2 of Zel)
...(Read Part 3 of Zel)


Zel
Part 1 of 3: Zizi and her two cubs, Zel en Zandi, were released together at Shayamanzi. Zizi didn’t want to leave her two cubs alone and was very protective in the release cage. Zizi ran out of the cage with aggression and speed and left her two cubs. She returned in the night and Zandi followed her to the neighbouring farm. Zel wandered off on her own. Zizi, Zel and Zandi were really three beautiful leopards, each with her own character and will. According to information from Zizi’s GPS collar she chose the northern part of Limpopo and made her home in a leopard-friendly reserve.
Zel wandered around near the Phantera viewpoint, where they had been released, for a day or two. Zel and Zandi both received a small radio transmitter on the neck. The transmitters were glued to the neck and they usually fall off in the moulting season. Small cubs cannot be equipped with collars as they are still
growing and the collars might strangle them. Zel and Zandi proved quite a number of expert perceptions as wrong. Since their birth they were kept in a small brick room and most experts believed that after four months in the small room, they would not be able to climb trees.
On the first night of their release, we photographed Zel en Zandi, who remained near the area of release. They probably waited for their mother to return. Some experts believed that predators such as jackals would
quickly kill the cubs. Well, the two left the cage on the first night and got into a tree, running around as if they grew up in trees, and rapidly learnt how to avoid predators.
After Zandi had followed Zizi, Zel chose her own route in the direction of the main camp. We found Zel’s signal near Tshwene, the place where a large troop of baboons always spend the night. We feared that the large baboon males had killed her. (Read further in Part 2 of 3)
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