🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Monday, 23 April 2012

African Leopard {Panthera pardus}

Black Pilot FineLiner ink sketch and W&N watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm   

An African Leopard sunning himself on some rocks. Powerful, graceful and arguably one of the most beautiful of all the large cats, the elusive leopard is a master of stealth and survival. I myself have only seen a Leopard twice in my life, once in the Kruger National Park and once on a private game reserve and in both instances he would have gone unnoticed if not pointed out by the guide.   

In the Cape Province south of the Orange River (South Africa), they have been largely eradicated by stock farmers except in rugged mountainous areas. The Cape Leopard that lives in the Cape mountain range is much smaller than its big cousins in the Limpopo region. Their diet is probably the contributing factor, consisting mostly of dassies and much smaller prey. 


The leopard lingered in the sun 
Almost at close of day, 
With all its hours almost done 
And fast to ebb away... 
The leopard let his memories 
Remind him now and then, 
Because he knew each day must cease 
When moonlight shone again.   

This day had seen new life, new death, 
That's how time passes by... 
We understand while we draw breath 
Until our final sigh... 

The leopard knew his time was near, 
Just like the sun above, 
Yet leopards are not prone to fear, 
That's why they still share love...   
His cubs were waiting down below, 
As he watched like a king... 
To see time like a river flow 
To outlive everything... 

Some day his cubs would watch in turn, 
As their cubs played a while... 
With each new day something to learn... 
Some joy to raise a smile... 
(The poem is based on the magnificent painting by Stephen Gayford called 'Leopard Sunset'.) 



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