A leopard and her two cubs spotted on a camera trap on a property in the Garden Route region last Thursday have sparked serious interest among social media users – much to the surprise of the land owners.
Jim Parkes, who owns the Geo Parkes & Sons Timber Merchants land on which three leopards were caught on camera, described the incident as nothing short of normal for them, he told Knysna-Plett Herald.
As they usually do with such footage, Parkes would go on to post it on the company’s Facebook page, and was surprised by the reaction it got.
“We post stuff like this on Facebook all the time, and it never gets this kind of attention,” Parkes said of the video, which has amassed tens of thousands of views since it was posted on Wednesday.
Parkes, along with Cape Leopard Trust researcher and media liaison Jeannie Hayward, feel that people are only really taking notice of this particular incident because they find themselves in lockdown; with nothing to turn their attention to.
For Hayward, this could lend itself to some retrospective thinking.
“Leopards have always been here – they have been caught on camera multiple times before and these sightings do not necessarily have anything to do with the lockdown,” Hayward said.
“Much hype and sensation has been created around images that would during ‘normal times’ have gone unnoticed – and maybe that in itself is some food for thought.”
The video was captured on a camera that Parkes had installed, with the help of SANParks Garden Route National Park scientist Lizette Moolman, in the last two or three years.
“We see leopards and all sorts of wildlife in the forests on our property so much,” Parkes said.
He further added that on countless occasions, people riding dirt bikes (‘scramblers’) have trespassed on their property, disturbing the peace.
“These guys ride around and interrupt the peace of nature around us, and it can easily scare away the wildlife.”
You can watch the video here: