Weg Magazine - Leopard Front Cover

10th October 2012

The October 2012 edition of the Weg magazine has used one of my Leopard images as their front cover.
This is a stock image that is currently being marketed by Getty.
Its a pity I don't get credited in person but still good to see my images popping up in the market place.

This leopard, Safari was her name, was one of the most amazing leopards legends in the Sabi Sands. She was almost 20 years old when she died earlier this year, already a very old age for a wild leopard. She had raised many cubs, if not the most cubs in that region and was one of the most intelligent and successful hunters I had ever seen... this with only one eye!!
If you look at the image you'll see that the eye in the image is almost greyed out and she was completely blind in that eye, but that didn't stop her at all.
She lost the eye at a very early age of around 6 years old while trying to defend a kill for her cubs from the dominant male of her territory - Mafufanyane. Although Mafufanyane was a very good father, which is in its self a very uncommon behavioural attribute for leopards, he unfortunately took a swipe at Safari and badly injured her eye.
Safari very quickly learnt to adapt to her new disability and I can honestly say she was so successful at everything she did that it I doubt very much that it slowed her down in any way.
Safari was also possibly the most photographed leopard of the Northern sector of the Sabi Sands. She had grown up with vehicles in close proximity and was so habituated to vehicles that she virtually ignored them. She was one of my favorite leopards to work with and I will miss her dearly...!

I have often wondered about the effects of flash and spotlights on animals at night.
There are so many naturalist that insist that this is bad for the animal and would have a permanent negative effect on the animal. If ever there was a subject that proved the opposite of this it would be Safari. With only one eye, she was quite possibly photographed and spotlit every day and night of her life. If ever there was eye that should have been 'burnt and blinded' it would be hers. A nocturnal predator has such a sophisticated eye that it can react faster than we can imagine.
It is for this reason that I strongly doubt the validity of these dooms day naturalist. Further consultation with vets and eye specialist seem to echo my views.

I do however believe that if you are going to spotlight a predator at night it should be done responsibly.
Don't start off by shinning the spotlight straight into the eyes.
Don't spotlight while the predator while it is hunting... or being hunted.
Always give the animal its space and enjoy every leopard sighting for you are in the presence of greatness!!