It’s confirmed… Half-tail is dead.

Last week Sunel, my Director of Photography and her assistant, Mari, dashed up to Robertson after we heard that a leopard may have been shot by a farmer. This was Half-tail; a collared male with an enormous range of around 40 000ha that has been a key player in the ongoing research being conducted on this fragmented population of leopards that remains in the Cape Fold Mountain Belt.

We had suspected that he had been killed under suspicious circumstances but I’ve just received confirmation from two sources that he is dead.

This is the second time that we’ve rushed off to go and continue telling the story of these leopards only to be met with the sad truth that they have been killed. This brings the total number of Leopards we know have been killed in the Western Cape to four in the last month….We know on which farm, which farmer, and we know the farmer destroyed the collar in an attempt to hide the data, and that he has gone to ground for very obvious reasons – and now, I face a dilemma: Do I name and shame the farmer? Do we attempt to prosecute him for the illegal killing of Half-tail? Do I try and engage with him to hear his side of the story…

Justin Bonello_Leopard

I’m at a loss and beginning to realize that if nothing changes we are going to lose these leopards much sooner than we think…


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