A conservationist who is on a quest to stop Nazareth Baptist Church members from wearing leopard skins and is offering to sell them fake skins at R600 each, has been kicked out of a church meeting at Ebuhleni, Inanda.
Tristan Dickerson works for the American conservation group Panthera, which is on a worldwide drive to protect leopards, an endangered species.
The Nazareth Baptist Church, known locally as the Shembe, uses the skins as part of traditional ceremonies and many Zulus wear leopard skins around their necks.
Yesterday church members laughed off Dickerson’s attempts to educate them about leopards, saying: “God will never allow the wild cats to vanish.”
Dickerson said the number of leopards in SA had dwindled to about 10 000. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has been reported as saying there are only 500 of the animals left in the province.