Cape leopards

Cape Leopards are a fascinating part of the leopard population of South Africa. It is estimated that there are as many as 1000 cape leopards living throughout the western cape. Now the western cape covers roughly 50,000 square miles so it is a rather large area, and they are spread across a few national parks. What is interesting about this group is that they are significantly smaller than any other group of leopards with females weighing around 20kg and males 35kg (generally leopards weigh between 60 and 70kg).

While there are many protected areas for them to live in, often this area is not large enough for a viable population and so leopards tend to roam outside national parks. Due to the small size of the population there are occasional issues. In recent years a leopard has developed a taste for penguins and eaten 30 or more. This is a problem as there are not many penguins left in South Africa.

As with most predators who do not remain within a protected area, there is a concern over predation of livestock. Cape leopards however prefer to eat klipspringers, porcupines and rock dassies, and while they will take livestock when it is presented this is relatively rare. Due to being smaller than other leopards they do not attack humans, though in defence of young they would still do considerable damage.

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