One odd behaviour characteristic that several researchers have concluded is that many of the large black animals possibly being leopards seem to move around at certain times of year coinciding with movements of people; for example, in the summer months in areas where human activity is high, the cats seem to vanish and keep a low profile and their field signs cannot be found often for several months. I have found this on the isle of Purbeck where most of my study areas are. The cats seem to move away after the May bank holiday and go deeper into the forests, only to return in September time ! this seems to happen every year and I am not surprised as so many people visit beaches and heathland sites that the cats do not like the disturbance. This also means that territories are not exactly static and there must be some give and take between rivals. However, just as I predicted, the beginning of September would again yield scats and scrapes in the usual area. below is the first scat found for eight weeks in my most prolific study area.
This is a cat scat possibly the same female leopard that marks her area for the last seven years in this spot. I expect to find more as autumn approaches and the behaviour change in the Sika deer ( the main prey ) also triggers reaction from the leopards. These scats are no good for D.N.A analysis as they dry out so quickly in the hot sun and they are rarely found fresh.