Leopards in Tanzania

IMG_5309 by idnas71.

Leopards are the commonest large cat in Tanzania, though their secretive nature means you may find it difficult to actually spot one. The best area for leopard spotting is said to be the beautiful Seronera River Valley in Central Serengeti. Above photo is of a leopard in Seronera by Idnas41 on Flickr.

Seronera leopards

The Seronera valley is justly famous for leopards and lions, both of which can usually be seen and photographed here without difficulty. Leopards should be looked for in the branches of the yellow-barked acacia and ‘sausage’ trees along the water courses. They often carry their prey up into the branches of tall trees to get it out of reach of lions, hyenas and, to a lesser extent, vultures.

Leopards are solitary creatures, the male only associating with the female when she is in season. Their markings are roseate clusters of spots and differ from the cheetah’s, which are single dots. Leopards are traditionally one of the most dangerous of the wild cats, but in the Seronera valley they sometimes are remarkably placid. However, if a leopard has cubs with her you should approach with care.

Thread on Lonely Planet forum with with leopard watching tips in Tanzania

Back in 2005 I had two of the most amazing experiences with leopards. First in the Serengeti – we had one leopard all to ourselves for around 30 mins – he was in a tree less than 30 mtrs from our van. He would occasionally look up at us, scratch a little then go back to sleep. In Tarangeri we had another leopard trot past our van – less that 1 mtr away – he has after two Egyption ducklings – but did not like the water all that much. Tarangeri has another unfortunate experience with leopards – back 2006 or 07 one took a young child who was riding his skate board along a path less than 30 mtrs from the huts they were staying in

Tanzanian lodge in court over leopard attack to French tourist’s son

A civil suit, first of its kind in Tanzania’s tourism history, took place in northern tourist city of Arusha this week against luxury Tarangire Safari Lodge over negligence that led to a leopard attack of a 7-year-old French boy.

French tourist, Mr. Adelino Pereira, had sued Sinyati Limited, which owns Tarangire Safari Lodge, over its management’s negligence which caused the death of his 7-year-old son, Adrian Pereira who was attacked and killed by a leopard at the lodge compound three years ago.

The Zanzibar Leopard: Between Science and cryptozoology

The Zanzibar Leopard, Panthera pardus adersi, is an elusive and possibly extinct subspecies endemic to Unguja (Zanzibar) Island. It has presumably been evolving in isolation from other leopards since at least the end of the last Ice Age, when Unguja was separated from the Tanzanian mainland by rising sea levels. The “founder effect” (genetic characteristics of the marooned population) and/or adaptation to local island conditions produced a smaller leopard than its continental relatives and one which “changed its spots”, or rather saw its more numerous rosettes partially disintegrate into spots