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Otter Trail - Leopard at Elandsbos estuary?

Knysna, Tsitsikamma, Wilderness
Wild El
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Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:29 pm

Otter Trail - Leopard at Elandsbos estuary?

Unread post by Wild El » Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:26 pm

Hi forum members.

Perhaps I am very wrong, but I think I may have seen a leopard spoor in the wet sand at the Elandsbos Estuary 3 days ago while hiking the Otter Trail. I know there are some leopards in the coastal area of Tsitsikamma/Garden Route Park, but they are so elusive I'm surprised I even saw a spoor. If that is indeed what it was. I am posting a picture and would appreciate feedback on whether it is a leopard, or if not, what people think it can be. Be gentle. I am not an expert. It is quite small but I understand that mountain leopards are a lot smaller than those living on ten savanna.

The location was about 100 m or so from the beach near where the cliff sides start but still in the tidal zone . In pic 1 the sandal is a mans size 8.

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Re: Otter Trail - Leopard at Elandsbos estuary?

Unread post by geoff_jungle » Mon Feb 24, 2014 1:44 pm

Yes Wild El leopards certainly occur along the garden route. Last month the local rag published a picture taken with an infrared camera trap of an adult male leopard near Harkerville between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna.
The spoor you saw could also have been that of a caracal (rooikat). The spoor, four toes and the pad is small, about 4.5cm to 5cm long. While hiking on the Robberg Peninsula (Plett) we have seen caracal on two occasions. A ranger at Robberg told me last month that there is a leopard in that area but is rarely seen as can be expected.

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Re: Otter Trail - Leopard at Elandsbos estuary?

Unread post by AstroMatt » Thu Apr 02, 2015 9:20 am

There are certainly leopards in this area but unfortunately I believe that you have seen a dog print. The 4 frontal pads should be more rounded and more spaced out, clearly separate from each other Yours look more pointy at the end which would suggest claws that aren't retracted. The back pad should also have three clear lobes (all cats) where as dogs and hyenas have a flatter back.
The front pads should also be smaller relative to the back pad.
Caracal prints are basically the same but smaller and a bit more drawn out.

I did a quick google for leopard spoor and i think the picture half way down this link is a good example of what the spoor would look like

Have to keep looking i think :thumbs_up:
Kgalagadi Leopard Project

Please use the online form or download the spreadsheet to report leopard sightings.
You can also download a free copy of the identification guides for KTP and Augrabies.

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