An adult male leopard was caught in a gin trap and then shot this week by a farmer near Augrabies, an act which has been condemned by the Landmark Foundation. Picture: Supplied
Kimberley - A Northern Cape man who apparently shot a leopard in a gin trap has been shamed on social media.

The man, who was named on the Landmark Leopard & Predator Project’s Facebook page, apparently shot the leopard near Augrabies.

The Landmark Foundation is a conservation NGO that promotes and facilitates conservation land uses and the Leopard & Predator Project was established in response to human-predator conflict on farms in South Africa. Field work is carried out in the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape.

“An adult male leopard was caught in a gin trap and then shot this week,” the Facebook post states, pointing out that the farmer had no permit to authorise this capture.

“He and his sons went a step further by (premeditation and criminal) intent shooting the leopard while it lay helpless in the gin trap. He failed to call any party to try any attempt to rescue this cat, and, as can be witnessed in the (accompanying) video, was gleeful in its killing, which clearly was an enjoyable event for this family.

“He did not notify nature conservation till after we confronted him about killing the leopard.”

It was stated that such actions were happening on many livestock farms. “Society needs to start accepting responsibility for this as they unquestionably source meats and animal products from such unethical production practices.”

The post adds that this was at a time when it was estimated that between 3 000 and 5 000 leopards remained in South Africa, with some areas sparsely populated, and the war on leopards continued. “In the Western Cape 500 adult leopards remain, in the Eastern Cape 400 and in the Northern Cape it is unknown how many remain.”

It stated that “the continued and ubiquitous use of gin traps” continues. “This trap was not soft to this leopard and many more leopards and by-catch that we do not know of.”

Fingers were pointed at the Northern Cape man mentioned in the post for apparently committing similar acts in the past.

“He has killed leopards before. A female leopard died at his hands in October 2014 when he shot one of Landmark Foundation’s collared research leopards as ‘he saw eyes in the night’ and shot at it. This leopard was one of our research leopards in the region, where we had and are still running a conservation project in the area. We offer compensation for losses where farmers apply ecologically and ethically acceptable practices and where we research the leopards in the region,” the organisation stated.

“In the current case no attempt was made to capture the cat in a cage or to try to mitigate actions, even as a compensation scheme was offered to (him) recently when our research and conflict mitigation team met with him.”

The link provided to the man’s Facebook page was not working on Wednesday.

Diamond Fields Advertiser