Three leopard cubs spotted in

Photo: Pixabay

Three leopard cubs spotted in rare sighting [photo]

To see three leopard cubs on one photo is truly a rare occurrence, says The Cape Leopard Trust.

Three leopard cubs spotted in

Photo: Pixabay

The Cape Leopard Trust recently shared a photo of three leopard cubs spotted on a camera trap.

The non-profit organisation, who are “engaged in innovative research, conservation and education projects established to facilitate and promote the conservation of biological diversity” shared the photo on Facebook saying that it is a “thrill to see leopard cubs on our The Cape Leopard Trust camera trap photos”.

A rare sight

“Usually there is only one cub, occasionally two. So to find three cubs on one photo is truly a rare occurrence – that is why we are bursting with excitement about this image!”

The organisation went on to explain that female leopards are pregnant for 100 days (called the gestation period) and usually will have two to three cubs in a litter.

“Little is known about the reproductive success of leopards in the Cape mountains, but it is a very tough environment and cub mortality seems to be high, especially in their first few months. Black eagles, baboons and malnutrition are great risks in these early stages. If a female is successful in raising young, the inter-birthing period (time between litters) is 18 months to two years.”

These cubs are said to be very young.

“We hope to see some more photos of them in the coming months – watch this space!”

#TrailcamTuesday ~ How many cubs?!? It is always such a thrill to see leopard cubs on our The Cape Leopard Trust camera…

Posted by The Cape Leopard Trust on Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Cape leopard caught on video in Walker Bay

The Cape Leopard Trust Facebook page also shared footage of a leopard caught on video in Walker Bay, a coastal nature reserve in the south-western Cape.

The video, shows rare footage of a leopard named Luka at the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy (Wbfc). In the footage, the female can be seen marking trees in the area as she scratches and rubs up against them. According to the Cape Leopard Trust, the fine specimen in the video is one of less than 1 000 leopards who call this area home in modern times.

“Leopards are territorial and solitary and do not encounter other leopards very often – especially in the Cape mountains where density is very low. They, therefore, rely heavily on chemical communication to convey messages about their presence, strength and reproductive state. The volatile chemical compounds in urine, scat and glands can persist for weeks and will thus remain present at a marking site long after the marking animal had left,” the organisation explained further.

AF2 Lumka – Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy

#TrailcamTuesday #TeachingTuesdayWatch right to the end – SOUND UP!Read below for an explanation of what you're seeing in the video…Remote-sensing field cameras (camera traps) are amazing tools for studying animal behaviour in very elusive species. Leopards are territorial and solitary and do not encounter other leopards very often – especially in the Cape mountains where density is very low. They therefore rely heavily on chemical communication to convey messages about their presence, strength and reproductive state. The volatile chemical compounds in urine, scat and glands can persist for weeks and will thus remain present at a marking site long after the marking animal had left. This chemical (or olfactory) communication in leopards is mainly achieved through scent-marking and scent-rubbing. Scent-marking involves tree scratching and spray-urinating (spreading the urine as high and wide as possible) on trees and big bushes and at scrape sites. Leopards scratch their claws on the bark of trees to sharpen and groom the nails and rid it of parasites and prey remains, but they also have a gland between the toes (inter-digital gland) that leaves a scent and makes other individuals aware of their presence.Scent-rubbing involves reaching up to prominent branches situated just above eye level and rubbing against it with scent glands on their cheeks and heads. Cats have sebaceous glands that coat the hair and skin with an oily secretion to make it waterproof. By rubbing against something a chemical signature would also be left behind. Interestingly, a leopard scent rubbing with glands on the head and cheeks will do it high as possible to try and amplify their height or size.Leopards are creatures of habit and will mark the same trees and bushes while patrolling well-worn trails. Generally, in the fynbos habitats of the Western Cape, large enough trees are few and far between. But the forested valleys of Walker Bay provide ample scratch posts – and afford researchers a rare opportunity to catch this marking behaviour described above on video. Right at the end of the video, there is yet another form of communication – auditory communication, which in leopards involves a very distinctive, deep guttural rasping call that sounds very much like sawing wood. Males and females vocalise to attract the opposite sex (mating call) or threaten individuals of the same sex to stay away (territorial call).All the clips in the video are of a single dominant female called Lumka (AF2). All credit to Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy – thank you for sharing this amazing footage with us!Grootbos Foundation | Mike Fabricius

Posted by The Cape Leopard Trust on Tuesday, March 17, 2020