Yesterday, a male leopard fitted with a tracking collar was released on Mountainlands Nature Reserve where there is ample prey (See photos below). He comes from a farm in the Schoemanskloof valley and was brought to Mountainlands by Chris Hobkirk and Gait Jan Sterk from the Mpumalanga Tourism and Park Agency (MTPA) game capture and relocation unit.
Once the transport container was opened the leopard darted out and made a quick escape into the grassland. Despite vast habitat and availability of prey, research by carnivore scientists shows a decline in leopard numbers towards the east of Mpumalanga Province and the relocation is an effort to boost population numbers. Certain areas, like Mountainlands, has emerged in studies as areas of core importance for the protection of leopards.