Predator that is part of the Big Five
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The leopard is one of the world's great predators. It's an animal that hunts both during the day and at night. This feline is regularly seen in countless places, but still you need some luck. Although that makes an encounter extra special.
The leopard is the crowning glory of a safari for many people. An encounter that is possible in both Africa and Asia, even if not everyone knows that. This animal lives on both continents and, for example, also in the Middle East. Although the animal is rarely seen there. But his paw prints are. Its official Latin name is panthere pardus.
The leopard belongs to the Big Five of Africa. So in the past it was a popular animal for hunting. Nowadays it is popular with tourists shooting with their cameras and mobile phones.
You know a leopard is nearby when you see prey hanging from a tree. Something only this predator does. The reason is simple, it prevents other predators such as hyenas and lions from running off with its prey.
A leopard loses out to these stronger animals, so it has to be smart. And a leopard is strong and nimble enough to climb trees. The animal is also regularly spotted resting in a tree during safaris.
You have to be lucky to see this predator, although they are seen more often than usual in some national parks. This has several reasons. Some parks are home to many of their prey, which means more leopards live in this nature reserve. It might also have fewer other predators, so they are not constantly chased.
Finally, in some parks, the animals have become accustomed to tourists and are thus much more visible. This is the case, for example, in Kruger National Park in Africa, as well as in Yala National Park in Sri Lanka.
In addition, leopards are often seen in national parks where night safaris (or actually evening safaris) are allowed. This is not allowed everywhere, but where it is allowed to be seen strikingly often leopards are hunting. So check in advance if this is possible. Please note that it is animal-friendly, in other words that only a red lamp is used. So that the animals do not suffer from it.
A good guide and driver during your safari can also make the difference. These experienced people know how the animals behave. And especially at nightfall. In fact, they sometimes gave them names because they recognise the animal from years of tracking.
A leopard eats just about anything that passes by comes. Usually it's food is antelopes, birds and rabbits for instance. The predator is found in large parts of Africa, but also in Asia. He belongs to the Big Five, "big five in Africa". This is because in the past a lot of this animal was hunted by the colonists. Fortunately, the animal is now protected in numerous places. But not everywhere yet.
This carnivore can be recognised by the large black spots on its yellow coat. Its behaviour is also very different from that of a cheetah, which looks somewhat the same.
This animal is also called panther, with the black panther in particular having an almost mythical name. It is actually a leopard with melanism, which is the opposite of albinism. If you see such an animal, you can consider yourself very lucky. Because a leopard in the wild is already special to see, and then certainly a black one.