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Runaway Leopard Returned to New Home

The team jumps into a helicopter equipped with a VHF tracking device capable of picking up signals from the leopard's collar. The plan is to find and shoot the cat from the helicopter.

This is not an easy task and requires very, very steady hands and extremely cool heads.

The leopard is soon spotted in the tall grass, so the helicopter tracks it down and the team continues on in the spare truck.

Once the helicopter's successful launch is confirmed, the ground crew moves forward to catch the male cat.

This is not a simple task, as the cat has fallen asleep inside the branches of a tightly packed tree. What follows is an extremely delicate operation. The team needs to clear enough branches to make a pass for the leopard, then free it from the tree without waking it.

The rescue operation is a success and the male leopard is soon on his way to Zinave National Park, flying first class on Dr. John Almeida lap.

The leopards will be featured in the 18,600 ha sanctuary established within the park. The forests of Zinave are an ideal breeding ground for leopards, providing them with ample opportunities to engage in their signature hunting style – the ambush.

The successful recovery of medium-sized antelope means that the sanctuary alone can support around ten leopards.

By introducing top predators like this leopard into Zinave National Park, it helps to balance the ecosystem, keeping prey numbers in check and maintaining vitality in the genetics of the remaining population.

Once large enough of the leopard's preferred prey, such as impala, are restored across the entire expanse of the 480,000-hectare park, the ecosystem can support over 200 leopards.


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