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 Post subject: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:19 am 
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I know the cheetah is not elusive in the same way a leopard is, but according to the Wikipedia page on KNP there are 10 times as many leopards as cheetahs. I am guessing leopards are more evenly distributed throughout the park whereas Cheetahs are more prevalent in the Satara area and south? On an average trip covering most of the park, do people find leopard or cheetah sightings the rarest?

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:38 am 
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That is a really interesting question! We have seen cheetah twice, (once between Orpen and Tamboti and once not far from Phalaborwa gate) but NO leopards.
Thinking back over visits to other parks with varying vegetation and landscapes there doesn't really seem to be a pattern when we have covered all bases so to speak. However, I would hazard a guess that cheetah sightings are actually more uncommon than leopard and surely that is due to the factors you mentioned - less of them and more restricted in habitat?

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:56 am 
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I believe the statistics. I've found cheetah to be the more elusive.

I've literally seen leopard on every single trip I've made to the KNP (and several times two or three times per trip - I'm actually more likely to dip on lion than on leopard! :shock: ; I can remember three trips where we did not see a single lion);

Cheetah I've seen only twice (on the Orpen-Satara and Lower Sabie-Crocodile Bridge roads respectively) and both times because they were literally walking right next to the road. Both times it was coalitions consisting of two males -- I'd love to see a female with babies! (or just a female :D )


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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:42 am 
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I would say that Cheetahs are not seen as often but they usually offer a better sighting. :cam:

Leopards don't like attention and is very rarely seen walking next to the road without being bothered by the string of cars behind them.....

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:15 am 
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Dabchick wrote:
I believe the statistics. I've found cheetah to be the more elusive.

I've literally seen leopard on every single trip I've made to the KNP (and several times two or three times per trip - I'm actually more likely to dip on lion than on leopard! :shock: ; I can remember three trips where we did not see a single lion);

Cheetah I've seen only twice (on the Orpen-Satara and Lower Sabie-Crocodile Bridge roads respectively) and both times because they were literally walking right next to the road. Both times it was coalitions consisting of two males -- I'd love to see a female with babies! (or just a female :D )


Dabchick - check out my TR - Casspirs, Kudus & Pussy Cats, the next installment is even more exciting :D

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:31 am 
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I've actually seen more cheetah north of Babalala than I have in the south (6 vs 5). We had 4 100m from Punda Maria camp eating breakfast and two just north of Babalala, near the entrance to the Northern Trails 4x4 route.

The southern ones have been more distributed, 2 near Mlondozi, one on the Salitje Road, one near Satara and one near P'kop.

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:40 am 
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We have been extraordinarily lucky with cheetah sightings - 6 sightings in our last 5 trips and all right next to the road, 2 when we were the only car. In that same period we only saw leopard in the last trip (and 4 different sightings!).

Across all trips (15) I would estimate equal cheetah and leopard sightings.

But any spotted cat will do :D


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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:18 pm 
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Based upon the three times I have been to Kruger, I think the Cheetah more elusive.

April 2010: 1 Leopard (on the final nightdrive after a 2 week search), 3 cheetahs
Oktober 2010: 6 Leopards, 2 cheetahs
July 2011: 8 Leopards, 2 cheetahs

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:23 pm 
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I've seen cheetah only twice in the Kruger.
Seen leopard about 15 times.

It is true. There are a heck of a lot of leopards in Kruger 8) Cheetah have struggled.

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:32 pm 
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Hi everyone. This is something which can be debated because everyone has different luck with different animals. I stay 45 mins from Punda and have visited the north of Kruger since I was a 3 year old boy. Am 18 now. Over the years I have had lots of Lion sightings. I have Lion sightings in 9/10 trips. I have also had Leopard and Cheetah sightings.

There is 1 particular Leopard I keep seeing around the Babalala area and I saw him a number of times now but he is car shy and runs staright into the bush the moment he sees any cars. There is a group of Cheetah that I have seen just north of Babalala in 2009 and than had another Cheetah sighting of 4 brothers in the last strech of the Mphongolo loop going to Shingwedzi from Babalala in late 2011.

I have been to the South once in which I have had no Predator sighting at all and have been to Satara once. During my trip to Satara in July 2011 I have had 2 Leopard sightings in one day, and my only trip to Mopani also resulted in a Leopard sighting at the t junction of going into Mopani camp.

I would agree with there being more Leopards in the park, and my reason would be is that Leopards are up in the tree during the day resting whereelse a Cheetah normally hunts during the day and is on the ground which should make Cheetahs more easier to spot. Due to the fact that Cheetah are just as difficult to spot as Leopards which is why am saying there are more Leopards than Cheetahs.

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:47 pm 
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Thanks for your replies this is all very interesting!

@Floris - you seem to have abundant sighting luck in winter!

Do people tend to spot Leopards and Cheetahs from their own car, or on a game drive?

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:50 pm 
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Graham_5000 wrote:
Do people tend to spot Leopards and Cheetahs from their own car, or on a game drive?

I should think people would have a fair chance on a game drive :hmz:
But I have seen rosettas or spotties on a game drive before! Only in my car!

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:00 pm 
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Graham_5000 wrote:
Thanks for your replies this is all very interesting!

@Floris - you seem to have abundant sighting luck in winter!

Do people tend to spot Leopards and Cheetahs from their own car, or on a game drive?


I must say that we stayed for at least two weeks each visit, so plenty of time. But in winter the bush isn't that thick, so spotting should be less difficult isn't it?

Our first Leopard (S100 :twisted: ) was on a drive when the guide told us we wouldn't have chance to see a Leopard because the place was crowded by Lions (we saw over 20 Lions that day on the S100). The most Leopards we saw, weren't up in the trees, but walking or down in the grass (strangely enough sometimes Impalas were in the trees at that moment :lol: ). About 50 - 50 spotted from own car / game drives.

All cheetahs we saw was in the heat of the sun, never in a drive, all of them we didn't spot by ourselves (others saw a tail or ears in the grass) so we could wait hours for them to stand up to replace themselves in the shade.

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:15 pm 
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Nice topic Graham. :thumbs_up:

In the last 11 years I have seen all my Kruger leopards, and sightings are becoming more common, maybe because I became a birder.

Cheetah I have seen sporadically since 1980. The thing with cheetahs is that they prefer a grassland habitat, or close by, that is why they are regularly seen on the H7 and S28, H10 and similar roads. There are probably large areas of Kruger that is unsuitable for them, plus the big numbers of the bigger cats they compete with for prey.

There are more cheetahs in Kgalaadi, and they are a lot more visible, because the habitat is 'right up their street'.

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:20 pm 
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Bush Baptist wrote:
In the last 11 years I have seen all my Kruger leopards, and sightings are becoming more common, maybe because I became a birder.

I don't think that is the reason :wink:
The leopard sightings are becoming more common in the south :shock: But most of my sightings of leopard have been on the ground in plain sight!

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