Territorial antics

There is an area in one of my study areas where much activity is happening at the moment. A female leopard visits the site about twice a week! she marks her territory with ground signs such as scrapes and scats and sprays. I also have infrared cameras up ready.I am hoping that I get some convincing evidence this time round.I have used trigger cameras for years but with many problems.

This camera is my cheap one, but OK . My best cameras are out somewhere special and are much more hidden and higher off the ground. This camera is situated in an area of wet heathland where no body goes, but lots of wild animals. The large cats seem not too bothered about getting their feet wet !They are bothered about lights on infrared cameras though and avoid them like the plague.These cats seem to be very sensitive and suspicious. Unfortunately, the heat seeking cameras cost thousands of pounds are outside my budget.I would ,love to have sponsorship for a project involving this type of camera.

this is one of the scrapes made by a small female leopard.

and this is another made by the same animal .she does then about a hundred yards apart in prime areas.Here she has left scat also.

this scrape was made by the larger female leopard in the busy area.she scrapes every fifty yards in some places. one of them will have urine in it, and another will usually have scat.Note how the pile of debris is formed by her hind feet carefully scraping up the earth and forming the mound. Her scats were deposited three meters away.

These field signs are evidence that leopards are well established in many parts of the UK and behave in a natural manner.The scat contains hair of sika deer as do most of them, although one of her scats contained hair and whiskers and bones of a domestic cat,such as the one below.


These are some of the scats I found and collected in just one day in one of my study areas.I have a feeling that the larger female is pregnant. If so , then she will move away to a more secure area with inaccessible cliffs to have her cubs in a cave. The pieces of bone are from a domestic dog.Many dogs go missing in Dorset and on the isle of Purbeck, half a dozen went within a week. I do not know if any were returned or not, but my suspicions are that at least two were taken by leopards.Dog walkers must remain vigilant and control their dogs especially if they are let off the lead.Dogs that go off chasing deer are more at risk of bumping into large cats.So be warned.