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    huntingsafaris on Hart Rifle Agents now appointe…
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    • Dennis with his Cape Buffalo April 20, 2012
      Dennis with his Cape Buffalo, originally uploaded by Hunting Legends Africa. Filed under: Uncategorized
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    • VISIT OUR NEW SITE October 31, 2008
      We would like to use this opportunity to invite you to visit our new wordpress.org blog: Real Africa Safari Holdings We are confident that you will find our new website and blog, a whole lot more interesting and dynamic, so please visit us now. Thank you for your support and God bless.Posted in Uncategorized
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    • Panthera Pardus – LEOPARD’S October 20, 2008
      KINGS of African tribes wear cloaks of leopard skin as these beautiful animals are a symbol of power. It is known for its ferocity and, after the Cape Buffalo, is the second most dangerous animal in Africa. Resources however indicate that Hippo are the biggest killers, this is however not due to their ferocity, however […]
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    • HUNTING ACCURACY AND BULLET PERFORMANCE October 20, 2008
      This a long article, however, we believe an informative one and you should enjoy this if you are hunting fanatics like we are. Most seasoned hunters and gun fanatics may find this article as old news, however, if you are a hunter who packs out the rifles once a year, and want to improve your general […]
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    • Hart Rifle Agents now appointed in Africa October 19, 2008
      RW HART & SON appoints REAL AFRICA SAFARI HOLDINGS as official agent in Africa Real Africa Safari Holdings is proud to announce that it has recently been appointed by Bobby Hart (President of RW HART & SON) as the official agents for Hart Rifles and Custom barrels in Africa. Custom rifles bearing HART barrels are […]
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    • Record breaking trophies can still be hunted in Africa October 14, 2008
      Huge Record Breaking Trophies can still be hunted in Africa. Finding good quality trophy’s in Africa is becoming more and more difficult. This is largely due to the huge amounts of outfittters and operators who have entered this market. Quite a few of these are luring naive and non-informed hunters from the east (China), whom are lured into […]
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    • PLAINS GAME HUNT SPECIAL 2008 October 14, 2008
      YEAR END SPECIALS FOR 2008 As the year draws to an end we, we want to use this opportunity to thank all of our friends who have hunted with this us year. We look forward to seeing you soon at the annual shows in the USA. WE STILL HOWEVER HAVE SOME EXCELLENT HUNTS AVAILABLE for 2008: […]
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    • Ethical Hunting Report October 14, 2008
      WARNING This is a website for ‘Professional Hunters’, and not ‘Opportunitist Killers’ If you are an ethical Hunter, you have come to the right place! We are first conservationists, and then hunters! We are professional hunters, and not opportunist killers. If you are looking for a fair-chase hunt you have come to the right place. (If you […]
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    • Long distance shooting – See the pro’s in action right here! October 11, 2008
      HART CUSTOM RIFLES – THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS If you haven’t shot with a 30 Hart Rifle yet, you ain’t seen nothing yet. No matter what you are shooting at, chances with a Hart Rifle is one hundred percent. As Bobby says: “They can run, but they will just die tired” Should you need […]
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    • Sniper rifles – this is how to shoot October 11, 2008
      HUNT WITH RW HART & SON: THE TRUSTED NAME IN LONG DISTANCE SHOOTING Watch a Bobby Hart custom 30 Hart Rifle take a long shot at a kudu in Africa. If you haven’t shot with a 30 Hart Rifle yet, you ain’t seen nothing yet. No matter what you are shooting at, chances with a […]
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    • Where to hunt in Africa October 11, 2008
      PLEASE MAKE SURE TO VISIT OUR BOOKING PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION “When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world” George Washington Carver REAL AFRICA SAFARI HOLDINGS INVITES YOU ON AN UNFORGETTABLE SAFARI Perhaps you are one of the privileged few in this world, […]
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Panthera Pardus – LEOPARD’S

KINGS of African tribes wear cloaks of leopard skin as these beautiful animals are a symbol of power. It is known for its ferocity and, after the Cape Buffalo, is the second most dangerous animal in Africa. Resources however indicate that Hippo are the biggest killers, this is however not due to their ferocity, however due to the fact that humans often end up coming between Hippos and their water pools – a recipe for disaster.

Leopards however, are dangerous predators, and have the widest distribution of all wild cats and is found throughout the continent of Africa, Asia, and in the Far East. Its name is derived from the Greek word leopardo after leo for lion and pardus for panther.

TAXONOMY
The leopard was first described as Felis pardus by Linneaeus in 1758. In 1930, TI Pocock renamed it Panthera pardus, distinguishing it from the non-roaring cats. It belongs to the family Felidae, order Carnivora, class Mammalia. Initially, some 27 sub species were named, of which 13 occurred in Africa. More recently, this number was reduced to eight but serious controversy led to the suggestion in 1995, of classing all African Leopards into a single subspecies Panthera pardus pardus.

DISTRIBUTION
Except for the Namibian and Saharan deserts, leopards are found across the entire African continent. They have a high level of adaptability and live in a variety of habitats ranging from sea level to over 5000m. It is one of few of the larger mammal species remaining in the neighbourhood of human developments, such as the environs of Cape Town and Nairobi.

DESCRIPTION
The leopard has a typical cat-like profile with a powerful, muscular body, relatively short legs and a very long tail. The pelageis covered with a series of black rosette spots. The background colour, which is a light tan to golden yellow, varies depending on the habitat, which has led to considerable taxonomic confusion and debate. Individuals can be identified by the pattern of the rosettes, especially those around the neck.

Adult males have a mean live body mass of 135 pounds and females around 70 pounds. We have however seen much larger animals than this hunted over the past few years, only recently Real Africa Safaris and a client shot a leopard male in excess of 200 pounds. Here is an example of a big cat shot with us recently:

Brendan Whitehead holding a monster cat shot in the Kalahari October 2008

Brendan Whitehead holding a monster cat shot in the Kalahari October 2008

The mean shoulder height of males is 27.6 inches and of females 23.6 inches. A male can reach a total body length, from the nostril to the tip of the tail, of 115 inches and bigger. They have five toes on the front paw, of which only four are printed in the spoor, and four toes on the hind paw. Both prints lack claw marks as the powerful claws retract fully into the nail beds. Claws are 1.2 inches long.

Trophies are measured by combining the maximum width of the skull and the maximum length.

HABITAT REQUIREMENT
Habitats are almost unlimited, ranging from wet tropical forest to bushveld, thickets, savanna, grassland, highveld, marshland, fynbos, Karoo shrub land and semi-arid deserts. Leopards are found in areas as diverse as plains and beaches, and on mountains as high as the snowline. The only habitat totally avoided is the Namibian and Sahara deserts. The suitability of of a habitat is determined by the availability and abundance of prey and the accessibility of terrain for stalking. Tall grass, bushes and rocks provide camouflage for successful kills.

Leopards tend to favour rocky areas and hills, kloofs and riverine areas. They occur at an annual rainfall of between 4 inches and 80 inches, are dependent of surface water and can survive in semi-arid environments, such as the Kalahari.

BEHAVIOUR
Leopards are primarily nocturnal and kill mostly at night; they hunt alone. When stalking, a leopard crawls up to the prey to a distance of between 13 and 23 feet. It then leaps forward onto the animal with lightening speed, aiming for the neck but usually landing on the shoulders. The momentum of the leap mostly knocks the prey off its feet and the cat rolls over it and attempts to rip out its throat. Smaller antelope are often killed by biting through the back of the skull. Leopards do not chase prey and only 20% of stalking attempts are successful. Once killed, the carcass is protected from scavengers by dragging it into thicket, or by hoisting it into a tree; a carcass up to twice the leopards mass can be lifted with ease. It will return repeatedly, for up to six days, to feed on the hidden carcass. Hunting success relies mainly  on an extremely well-developed sense of sight and hearing while scent is of little importance.

During hot daylight hours leopards rest in dense cover, between rocks, in caves, old burrows or high up on the branch of a tree. In early mornings they tend to lie and view their surroundings from sunny spots on rocks or river banks. They are excellent swimmers and do not hesitate to enter water. One leopard was seen crossing 900 yards of open water between islands on Lake Kariba.

In bushveld terrain, leopards rarely move more than 4 miles per night. Stander measured an average daily travelling distance of 7 miles in the dry savannah of Namibia. Up to 18 miles have been recorded in the Kalahari. Movement is not continuous but consists of a series of short distances of up to 250 yards.

Leopards are vicious when aggravated, short tempered and constantly ready for a fight. Attempts to follow a leopard on foot are very dangerous and the uttermost caution is essential. Once the cat realises a human is in pursuit, it often circles back on its tracks, selects an ambush site and waits for the intruder, who is met by a sudden, fierce attack. When stumbling across a leopard unexpectedly, eye to eye contact and sudden movement should be avoided as these trigger an immediate attack.

FEEDING AND NUTRITION
Leopards are opportunistic and will eat any available food source. The natural diet depends largely on the composition of the natural prey in the area. In some areas hyrax and rodents, such as mice and porcupines, are readily hunted. The size of prey varies from a mouse to an adult gemsbuck. Studies indicated that Impala represented 78% of leopards diets in the Kruger National Park.

Leopards do not fear humans and have been reported to become man eaters, a phenomenon especially common in India.

We will continue our report on leopards in a next post, so keep watching our blog. In the mean time, how about coming on a great leopard hunt in Namibia – the world of leopards!

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