Slent's "Unique Guest"

Tuesday, 6 November, 2012
More than ever before, we are so happy to say "on our Mountain lives a leopard which is protected by man. Ayama wines are dedicated to Nature, and to our leopard which one day we may be lucky enough to see."
Judy and Chris New, our dear friends, South African family and previous owners of our farm gave us some photographs. 

Judy and Chris, with help from the Cape Leopard Trust, installed a camera trap on their property, High Slent, which is situated above our Slent property on Perdeberg Mountain. Three days later, the leopard visited the site, and was captured by the motion-sensitive camera. It returned on another two occasions, which the camera faithfully recorded. We are delighted to have definite proof that this handsome male leopard has selected="true"="true"="true"="true"="true" our small mountain as part of his territory. Another camera, belonging to neighbors, has recorded the presence of a female leopard with a half-grown cub. It seems that the leopards like it here! 

 Before the pioneering work undertaken by the Cape Leopard Trust, very little was known about the behavior and ecology of the Cape Mountain Leopard. Some general facts on Cape mountain leopards, which are unique in many ways:
  • Cape leopards live in the mountainous regions of the Cape
  • They like rocky slopes or well vegetated riverine areas rather than open, flat areas
  • Each leopard has unique spot or rosette patterns, like our fingerprints
  • They move mainly at night but may also be active at dawn and sunset
  • A leopard's sounds like wood being sawn
  • Leopards are solitary, moving within a well-defined, sexually exclusive territory or home range
  • They do not live in a cave, as some believe, rather they find suitable places to sleep as they go
How big are Cape leopards' territories? They are massive – over 10 times the size of other African leopards

Male home range in Fynbos – average 250km2; Male home range in Karoo – average 600km2; Female home range average 120km2. Within a male’s home range there will be two or three females. 

What do leopard tracks look like?
No claw marks (it’s a cat, with retractable claws)
Three bulges on back of pad (it’s a cat) 
Male length = 7,5cm – 8,5cm
Female length = 6cm – 6,5cm 

What do Cape leopards eat?
Favourite foods are klipspringer (an antelope) and dassie (rock hyrax) – almost 80% of their diet. They also eat other antelope, porcupine and mice. Very few baboons are eaten, as these group-living animals can be very dangerous 

How much does a Cape leopard weight?
Cape mountain leopards are half the mass of the average African savanna leopards. Because of their size, they are not considered a threat to humans. There are no records of attack on people. Males average 35kg. Females average 21kg 

What is the Cape Leopard’s breeding behavior?
Mothers have 2 or 3 cubs (less than half survive)
The female moves them to a new den site every 7 to 10 days for about 3 months
Cubs leave their mother after 12 -18 months 

How many Cape leopard are there left?
A good guesstimate would be that there are less than 1000 Cape leopards in total. About 35 resident adult leopards live in the greater Cederberg area (from Pakhuis Pass to Katbakkies in the Bokkeveld) 

The Cape Leopard Trust is an active predator conservation working group, using research as a tool for conservation, finding solutions to human-wildlife conflict and inspiring interest in the environment through an interactive and dynamic environmental education programs. Since its inception, it has become an authority on predator conservation in the Cape, and one of the leading authorities in SA. 

Judy and Chris changed our vision of what Nature is. They shared their knowledge and gave us key behavior statements to protect Slent animals and plants. As Italians, we never thought we would be looking at these pictures with such strong emotional happiness. 

We would like to share this with you, a gift from AYAMA to our friends, customers and fans. Ayama will do everything possible to protect this Cape Leopard and all the animals living on our Mountain.