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Leopard stories

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Leopard.tv article in the Wildland (January 2015)

10 February 2015


...(Read Part 1 of Zan)
...(Read Part 2 of Zan)

SHAYAMANZI Zan (Part 3 of 3)
Leopards (www.leopard.tv)
By Jannie Parsons

www.leopard.tvDrunken and confused he lifted his head and stared at us with foggy eyes. I sat next to him and stroke his beautiful fur when he suddenly seemed more awake than I thought. Usually when the hindquarter can be lifted, they are reasonably awake. These moments of a wild leopard being symbolically bound to a human with a GPS collar was the start of a leopard project that became the passion of the whole Shayamanzi family and team and which had to be recorded on video camera. With the switching on of the camera that stood to one side, another anxious moment followed...

Contrary to what we anticipated, Zan crawled towards me. I rapidly went backwards and still tried to film but he changed direction and came for me, still faster. He was much more awake than we thought.

Our eyes met again. He was still somewhat confused but there was a softness in his eyes. He fixed his gaze at me for long, as if he wanted to thank me for a second chance and that he would spread the word that Shayamanzi is leopard-friendly and busy with a project to better understand the leopard mystery.

Zan suddenly changed direction and started to crawl in the direction of the shrubs and tried to walk. I believe Zan saw the promise in my eyes, that I would make it a passion and a way of life to spread the leopard’s story worldwide.

We received signals from Zan’s collar for very long. He walked an exceptionally large distance of more than 770 km and probably held to his promise to spread the word on Shayamanzi’s leopard conservation initiatives. He walked through Botswana, went into the southern part of Zimbabwe, turned and walked to within a few kilometres of Shayamanzi.

Here his signal stopped. What happened to him we will never know. Maybe he was caught again and disappointed that not everyone wants to save leopards. Maybe he wanted to make Shayamanzi his territory after having crossed many farms and having realised that Shayamanzi is one of only a few farms that is leopard-friendly.

He would have been proud if he could open his eyes some ten years later to see that Shayamanzi, some 30 leopards later, is still keeping its promise to tell leopards’ stories and to conserve them for our children. The www.leopard.tv web site distributes pre-recorded videos (unmanned internet cameras) of game life and leopard activities at Shayamanzi across the world. With the help of people and businesses across the world, the Zan-Jannie dream might become a reality.


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