A newly released coffee table book, Against the Odds – The remarkable story of leopards at the Cape celebrates these big cats and conservation efforts to protect them. Endorsed by Dame Jane Goodall, with a Foreword by Dr Ian McCallum and a magnificent cover image by National Geographic photographer Steve Winter.
The 144-page hardcover book is a visual feast with high-quality photographs that reveal the magnificence of leopards at the Capebook, written in accessible narrative style by environmental journalist John Yeld, explores the early history and persecution of leopards in the region and how attitudes to these cats have changed over the past 400-odd years. It delves into the birth and coming of age of leopard research and conservation at the Cape, with a focus on the Cape Leopard Trust and the people who have made the organisation what it is today. The book features poignant personal accounts from various role players who have dedicated much time and effort to secure a future for leopards and shines a light on the importance of these truly wild and elusive felines.
‘The presence of leopards as apex predators is essential to the health of the Cape Floristic Region’ ~ Jane Goodall
Elusive, mysterious, ghost-like … Many people are unaware that leopards still roam the wild mountain regions of the Cape and occasionally venture down into adjacent areas in valleys and even the coastal strip. Intensely shy, these reclusive cats are almost never seen, but they reveal their iconic presence in evocative camera trap photographs and through other signs like spoor and scat. The same subspecies as leopards that occur elsewhere throughout Africa, but significantly smaller and with some unique traits, the leopards at the Cape have survived centuries of persecution and hunting – some say miraculously. Now, they have full legal protection (although contraventions still occur) and are wide, if not universally, celebrated for their magnificent physical presence and crucial role as apex predators.
About the Cape Leopard Trust
The Cape Leopard Trust (CLT, Est 2004) is an environmental NGO and non-profit based in the Western Cape, South Africa. We facilitate and promote the conservation of biological diversity, with a focus on the leopard as a flagship species. The leopard is the last large predator and the last member of the Big 5 to still roam free in the Cape provinces. The species faces multiple threats, including limited and fragmented habitat, reduction in prey numbers and high levels of conflict with people. Our purpose and vision is to ensure the continued survival of leopards for the benefit of nature and society, by supporting the protection of their habitat and prey species, promoting peaceful coexistence between leopards and people, and fostering community custodianship of the Cape’s unique biodiversity.
This book tells the remarkable story of leopards at the tip of Africa, and of the Cape Leopard Trust’s efforts to ensure these ‘ghost cats’ continue to survive.
** The book was made possible thanks to generous funding from the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust.
Against the Odds is for sale from 1 March 2023 at the CLT online shop at bit.ly/CLTAgainstTheOdds