Over the years, the Cape Leopard Trust has received a number of reports of amazing leopard sightings in and around the Uitkyk Pass area. This is located near Algeria, in the Cederberg Wilderness Area.
“The top of Uitkyk is one of very few places in the Cederberg where there is cellphone reception. Two weeks ago, Daniel Hirst was sitting in his vehicle at the top of the pass, collecting and sending messages on his phone. He noticed a movement in the bushes next to the vehicle, and suddenly a leopard emerged about 3 meters away from him,” the Cape Leopard Trust said in a post on its Facebook page.
“It stopped to have a quick look at Daniel, walked across the road, and disappeared down the mountain. Because Daniel had his phone in his hand anyway, he was able to take this awesome photo! It is not often that someone can actually send a photo of a sighting, but in this particular case things worked out perfectly!”
“This image also illustrates very nicely how dark a leopard may appear when spotted in low light around dawn or dusk,” the Trust added.
A number of sightings are reported to the Trust with the comment that the leopard was almost black. Although melanism does occur in leopards, truly black leopards are exceedingly rare in SA.
“The reason for the dark appearance, especially in the Cape mountains, is quite simply the low light conditions combined with the leopard’s uncanny ability to camouflage and disappear like a ghost,” it said.
Picture: Daniel Hirst/Cape Leopard Trust