The Cape Leopard is smaller than that found in the rest of Southern Africa.
Although occurring in areas that have seen a lot of human disturbance in the last 350 years, some of the various surviving populations are doing surprisingly well. This can be attributed to them finding refuge in the many mountainous areas found in the Western Cape during the height of their persecution. Although not recorded in TMNP anymore there are populations very close to the greater Cape Town of which camera traps have shown that no fewer than 7 individuals have been found in the Kogelberg (near Betty's Bay) Nature Reserve as reported by the Cape Times Newspaper yesterday.
Camera traps are being more extensively used in many areas and are showing surprising results in the local fauna populations. Surprising in that there seem to be more of these elusive cats and other larger mammals than previously expected. Being so close to Cape Town one would think that the populations would be well documented but well developed Fynbos communities are hard to penetrate (to check on spoor etc) and easily hides medium sized mammals and thus the use of camera traps has been key to the new finds.
A Zoologist from UCT, Quinton Martins has also been studying the leopards of the Cedarberg area (about 2hours from Cape Town) and his finds are giving huge insight in to this little understood animal in these parts.
Interestingly, a friend of mine came across the rare event of a female leopard with two cubs
crossing the road close to Betty's Bay. I have spent days or even months in Fynbos areas in total and am yet to see a sign of any leopard. Sure is nice to know they are around though!