The last few days we’ve been very fortunate with the viewing of the bigger cats of Kapama. Lions have been seen on almost every game drive and the leopards also graced us with their presence.

One of the resident female leopards has been spotted everyday for the last week. She’s had two different impala kills within meters from each another. This was heaven on earth for most guides as they are one of the most difficult cats to find. Just about everyone got to see this illusive spotted cat and her 8 month old cub feeding and playing like there was no one watching.

Although we’re lucky enough to still see lions and leopards in this area, there are many places in Africa where their numbers are very low. Lion numbers have dropped from 450,000 to 20,000 in the last 50 years. If these numbers keep on dropping we will soon only look at these magnificent animals on television or in books.

Conflict with humans is the most critical threat currently facing wild populations of big cats. Research has revealed that this conflict is partly driven by livestock depredation, which can be very damaging for poor households, but also by little knowledge about big cats.

We can only hope that things will change in the near future and keep educating people on the importance of these animals. Luckily there are still reserves like Kapama that serves as some sort of protection for them. Every time I gaze upon one of the big cats I consider myself lucky.

Roan Ravenhill

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