Abused leopard tastes freedomBy: TANJA BAUSE
IN September last year the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the Tsumeb SPCA confiscated two leopards and a lioness from the Farm Werda in the Tsumeb area.
The leopards, a male and a female, had been kept in very small enclosures while the lioness had been kept cooped up in an old caravan.
The lioness never saw the sun and was very frustrated. She had lost most of her teeth and had several open wounds.
She died while being transported to a place of safety.
The two leopards were in a slightly better condition and both were rehabilitated and released back into the wild.
The animals were taken to the N/a Ďankuse Wildlife Sanctuary outside Windhoek. Here they were monitored and prepared for release.
They were both fitted with radio collars and the male was released early in February in the Namib-Naukluft Park.
The female followed him yesterday morning, when she was released in the park.
Both animals have recovered from their ordeal and it is hoped that they will soon adapt to their new life in the wild.
The female was fitted with a VHF collar specially made in New Zealand and sponsored by Bank Windhoek to the tune of N$48 000.
The collar will transmit her location twice a day and the data will be collected by the N/a Ďankuse research team to see whether she has adapted to a life of freedom and is hunting on her own.
This leopard is the ninth animal rehabilitated and released by N/a Ďankuse. In May 2008 three cheetahs were relocated to the Namib Rand Game Reserve.
N/a Ďankuse and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism work closely together in releasing and keeping wild animals in the wild.