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November 2014 Wildland article (Article only published in Afrikaans)

5 November 2014

 

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


SHAYAMANZI
Leopards (www.leopard.tv)
Zan - Jannie Parsons

www.leopard.tvPart 1 of 3: On 22 May 2005 a male leopard was caught in the mountains of Shayamanzi. The leopard had caught an eland calf which he had dragged over a long distance and hid beneath a bush. We got closer to the cage, frightened and cautiously. The atmosphere was tense due to the leopards frightening grumps and roars and the fear that he might break out of the cage at any moment. Every time he bit and hit at the cage, which had taken his freedom from him, with his long nails, we froze to a standstill. Would the cage hold? Could he knock down the door? Should we keep a camera or a gun ready?

Tense questions in a high risk environment flashed through our minds. This leopard is angry, frustrated and ironically looked even a bit sheepish that he could have let himself be caught in a cage, although he didn’t avoid eye contact. The messages, emotions and questions shot from his flashing green eyes. It was as if he was screaming that if he could just get out of the cage, he would devour each of us. At times he looked calm and his eyes asked why have you caught me? What did I do other than what I am supposed to on this earth? He even lay on his back in a gesture of submissiveness and pleading that we should understand his side of the story, or at least try to understand. For years he had been walking his territory unhindered. We entered his territory in between the mountains and ravines, with all the game trails that have been scraped, and we changed his life irrevocably. Was this day maybe the start of a special moment where a game farmer and leopard saw something in each other’s eyes and almost telepathically, hypnotised for the moment, sent sub-, conscious and super conscious messages to one another? In an uncomfortable silence we looked at each other.

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