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ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - D - THE LEOPARD (Panthera pardus)

India sanjay Online
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Welcome to the forum @Wildanimals
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Italy Ngala Offline
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@peter 

Peter, you have old information and old material (like photos, any data, ...) about leopards to share (as in thread of the tiger)? I'm very interested, and i'm trying to find old information and data about the leopards.
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 03-03-2017, 02:43 PM by peter )

(03-01-2017, 10:16 PM)Ngala Wrote: @peter 

Peter, you have old information and old material (like photos, any data, ...) about leopards to share (as in thread of the tiger)? I'm very interested, and i'm trying to find old information and data about the leopards.

In the tiger extinction thread, I posted about an alliance between an old male tiger and a very large male leopard in Central India. The leopard did the killing, whereas the tiger was the detective. He was always the first to visit something out ofd the ordinary. Both were very wary animals. Happened in the fifties of the last century in Central India.

In the same thread, I posted about a cross between a male leopard and a tigress. The hybryd, a male, was just over 8 feet in total length in a straight line. This was in the days of the British Raj. 

R.I. Pocock wrote a lot about leopards in British India and Africa. Some of the books and papers he wrote are on the internet. He and some hunters concluded that Indian male leopards average somewhere between 6.11-7.1 in total length in a straight line. The leopard mentioned above was one of the longest I heard of. He was 7.10 and very robust. Compared to the other big cats, Panthera pardus shows more individual variation. Sexual dimorphism in large subspecies often is very outspoken.

Where they co-exist, predators compete with each other. Although interactions between lions and hyenas draw a lot of attention in Africa, leopards also are very active. They kill cheetahs, caracals, servals and smaller cats whenever possible. Although they usually come up short in encounters, some male leopards have killed adult hyenas. Every now and then, they get the opportunity to kill young lions. This one killed two 5-month old cubs (from Carnivora):   


*This image is copyright of its original author
 

I read a book written by a man who raised 3 lion cubs to adulthood after their mother had been shot. Although they lived on his estate, they never saw anyone but him. He walked them through what would be their territory. One day, the cubs, by then quite large, detected a male leopard. They chased him, but he easily got rid of them. He then went for their guard. It looked real bad, but his jump just missed. The reason was the male lion cub had intervened. He could have saved his life. In the fight that followed, the leopard, estimated at 60 kg., was killed by the cubs but it took a long time. They definitely learned to take care of leopards. 

There is a lot on leopards on the internet. Old stuff, but interesting. Corbett wrote about the Rudraprayag man-eater. He also shot the Panar man-eater, who allegedly had killed over 400 humans. Leopards still kill and eat humans today, especially in India. It happens more often than many think.

Although quite a bit smaller than the bigger cats, leopards are more versatile, more athletic, faster and more powerful than many think. A man-eating leopard often is hard to find and very difficult to shoot (smaller target).

Leopard trainers described them as elusive, unstable (more nervous) and dangerous. Not a few of them told me they considered males in particular as psychopaths. Quite a conclusion, but they had good reasons. Leopard and jaguar trainers seemed more wary than those who trained lions and tigers. 

But Billy Arjan Singh, who raised 2 cubs to adulthood, had a very different opinion. His observations are very interesting.

This leopard was shot in northern Africa (Algeria) about a century ago. Found it at Carnivora and could have been posted by Chui:  


*This image is copyright of its original author
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Italy Ngala Offline
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Thanks for your time @peter, interesting info. The leopard in the photo from Algeria seems to be very big. They still seem to be present in the regions of southern Algeria.
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Italy Ngala Offline
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( This post was last modified: 03-02-2017, 09:20 PM by Ngala )

A famous photo of Carl Akeley, with a leopard killed after he attacked him during an expedition in Somaliland, 1896. The weight of the leopard reported is 80 pound (around 36 Kg).

Taxidermist Carl Akeley posing with the leopard he killed with his bare hands after it attacked him, 1896

*This image is copyright of its original author

"Carl Akeley, considered the father of modern taxidermy, was not only a taxidermist, but also a naturalist, sculptor, writer and inventor. Best known for the Hall of African Mammals that bears his name at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Akeley revolutionized the field of taxidermy by developing a method of reconstructing the animal from the inside out.

In 1896 Akeley started his first trip in Africa and it was also on this trip that Akeley came face to face with a deadly 80-pound leopard. During a journey to Somaliland, Akeley and his assistant were out hunting ostriches for the Field Museum in Chicago when the hunter spotted something lurking in the tall grass. As this was his first big trip, Akeley was a bit inexperienced and thought the mystery creature was a warthog. Wanting to bag “the hog” and take him back to the States, Akeley raised his rifle and squeezed the trigger. But when he heard a bloodcurdling shriek, he realized his mistake. This was no pig. It was a leopard—and it was still alive.

Not wanting to end up stuffing the cat with his own entrails, Akeley raised his rifle and fired twice, but he missed both times. On his third shot, the bullet grazed the leopard, sending the feline into a frenzy. Enranged, the big cat screamed and charged the American, all teeth and bad attitude, ready to take his revenge.

Terrified out of his mind, Akeley pulled the trigger a fourth time, only to realize that he was out of bullets. Downright desperate, Akeley tried to flee, loading cartridges into his rifle as he ran. Working the bolt, he turned to shoot, only to see the leopard flying through the air, fangs bared. Fortunately, Akeley’s first shot had wounded one of the cat’s back paws. Thanks to the bullet, the leopard’s jump was a bit off, giving Akeley enough time to throw up his hands. The cat sank its jaws into the man’s forearm, and the two started wrestling back and forth, fighting for their lives. Eventually, the man and cat grew weak and tumbled to the ground. Finally, he managed to strangle the leopard with his left hand while ramming his right arm down the leopard’s throat. Later Akeley posed with the dead leopard, resulting in his most iconic photo."
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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United States Polar Offline
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I severely doubt he killed that leopard with his bare hands. For an average and weak man like him, a 80-pound leopard is too much in strength and other physical attributes.
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Italy Ngala Offline
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Probably the cat was severely injured by the bullet, and was greatly weakened by this shot.
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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United States Polar Offline
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Or perhaps he shot it off completely? Humans love to lie about their feats.
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Italy Ngala Offline
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( This post was last modified: 03-06-2017, 10:39 PM by Ngala )

Leopard killed in Angola, 1912-1914. 

Title: "Leopardo manso com caçador; Leopardo manso com caçadores"
Collection: "Missão de Delimitação da Fronteira Sueste de Angola: 1ª parte dos trabalhos [negativos originais]"

*This image is copyright of its original author

Source: ACTD - Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Italy Ngala Offline
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( This post was last modified: 03-06-2017, 10:40 PM by Ngala )

Leopard from Guinea-Bissau, in preparation to be skinned. 1945-1946.

Title: "Felino (leopardo para preparação ?)"
Collection: "Missão Zoológica a Guiné. Campanha de 1945/46"

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

Source: ACTD - Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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United States stoja9 Offline
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I really don't like the fact so many photos lately are of dead animals. That's what they do over at Carnivora, among other intolerable shit. DO we seriously need to see a leopard about to be fucking skinned? REALLY? For what end? In my mind what has always separated this site from Carnivora was a genuine love and appreciation for animals in their natural and living state. The lines are getting blurred lately.
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Italy Ngala Offline
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(03-07-2017, 08:19 AM)stoja9 Wrote: I really don't like the fact so many photos lately are of dead animals. That's what they do over at Carnivora, among other intolerable shit. DO we seriously need to see a leopard about to be fucking skinned? REALLY? For what end? In my mind what has always separated this site from Carnivora was a genuine love and appreciation for animals in their natural and living state. The lines are getting blurred lately.

As i said previously, i don't like this photos, but i find them very interesting for several reasons, and the reasons are the same for the submitted photos of tigers hunted in an other era, in the thread "In the Edge of Extinction - Tiger". 

First of all, because they are historical photos, an era where the animals had a wider distribution area, and were present in areas where there are now no more. For example, I don't think that there are recent photos of leopards from Guinea-Bissau.

They are also interesting because they can still show specimens that now are extinct; sincerely i'm a little disappointed that there are so few photos that are came to us, as for the Caspian tiger or Javan tiger. I don't understand why these about leopards is a trouble.
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Austria Brehm Offline
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( This post was last modified: 03-08-2017, 05:22 AM by Brehm )

Information from old books was requested, im glad to be able to provide an article i found 2 days ago. I was looking for some information about Billy Arjan Singh and his expierinces with leopards, as @peter er made me curious about Billy in his last post. I turned on google and couldnt find much at first, but then there was a link to a highly interesting site: http://wild-cat.org/pardus/

This website contains a lot of interesting information about leopards, but one article called "What is the use of leopards?" is highly recommended!


What is the Use of Leopards?

Frederick Walter Champion was a forester in the United Provinces, with an intimate knowledge of the Sivalik hills and the wet savannah. After World War I he gave up shooting, partly due to revulsion with slaughter and out of an interest in photography. An early advocate of wildlife protection, he pioneered flashlight photography using trip wires. His photographs are among the first of free-living tigers and leopards in India.

The displayed photographs were taken in the 1920s and are by courtesy of his grandson James Champion.

His article "What is the Use of Leopards?" was published in 1934 in his second photo book "The Jungle in Sunlight and Shadow", of which excerpts are presented here. Evidently it was not the tiger alone that had found someone to champion its cause.

Some people - sportsmen these - claim that the leopard was specially created in order to provide the exile with good sport; others state that such a marvellously beautiful creature requires no justification for its existence; another class of thinkers vehemently uphold the idea that the leopard, like the tiger, is an anachronism which should be wiped out at the very earliest opportunity. But the real facts are that the leopard is a very important unit in the general scheme of animal life in India. Deer and wild pigs are extremely prolific and voracious animals which, if allowed to breed and increase without any check, would soon become so numerous that they would consume all the available food inside the forests they at present mainly inhabit. When this food had become exhausted they would scatter in all directions, and would thus become a very serious menace to the vegetable and cereal food supply of man and other creatures. No: Nature knows better than that, so she arranges a balance between the Ungulates and the Carnivora which works in an astonishingly efficient manner.

In India sportsmen are constantly shooting the carnivora, and, considering the extreme efficiency of modern firearms and the great facilities afforded by the advent of the motor car, it is remarkable that they have managed to keep up their numbers; although tigers are undoubtedly less common than they were, say, a century ago. Hence many forest officers are of the opinion that it is high time that the greater carnivora were afforded some measure of protection, if the normal balance of nature is not to be seriously upset.

Every creature has its definite place in Nature's great balanced scheme of wild life, and even the leopard, despite his numerous detractors, has ample justification for his existence.

The leopard is certainly no more popular in the Indian jungle than is the policeman in the Indian village, but he is there for the definite reason that, unless deer, pigs and monkeys can be taught the principles of birth-control, some check must be put upon their unlimited increase if the jungle is to continue to be able to support them all. And the leopard, like the Indian policeman, has some very fine qualities. He is generally courageous to a degree, and his physical fitness would put the ordinary human athlete to shame. Further, he can climb trees with the greatest ease; he has marvellous patience when hunting; he can live for days at a stretch without water; and he can conceal himself, thanks largely to his extremely useful spotted coat with which a kindly Nature has endowed him, in a way which is the constant envy of the human hunter, scout or soldier.

In addition the mother leopardess shows great devotion to her cubs, for whom she will fight till the last gasp, and the whole leopard race would take a very high place in a beauty competition for animals.

To counteract this long list of qualities there must be, obviously, corresponding vices, but at least it can be claimed that the latter list is shorter. Undoubtedly leopards are unnecessarily destructive on occasions, and cases have been known of a leopard entering a goat pen and killing the whole of the thirty or forty animals which it contained. The leopard is also less scientific in his killing than the tiger, so that he sometimes inflicts more pain in the process than is necessary; although it goes without saying that he does not do this with the object of being deliberately cruel, for it is my firm belief that man alone practises the debased vice of cruelty for cruelty's sake.

From man's point of view, also, the leopard has his bad qualities. He is particularly fond of dog-flesh, and many are the loyal and trusted canine friends of man which have ended their career in the stomach of a prowling leopard. Again some leopards, generally of a lazy and debased type, discover that in preference to the comparatively hard work of stalking alert wild animals it is much easier to catch and devour the numerous cattle which are so carelessly left about in the neighborhood of Indian villages. They undoubtedly do a good deal of harm in this way, although the fault is not entirely theirs but often lies at the door of those cattle-owners who place temptation in the way by carelessly leaving their cattle unattended at night, in places where they know perfectly well there is considerable risk from a wandering leopard. But perhaps the Hindu villager is not always quite so careless with his cattle as he seems to be. Like the farmer throughout the world he would not be happy without his 'grouse', and he really kills two birds with one stone when he leaves his old, worn-out and useless cattle where they are likely to be killed by tigers or leopards. He provides himself with a very comforting source of complaint and at the same time gets rid of the useless beasts which his religion prevents him from destroying with his own hand. It is even whispered that some of the Buddhists of Burma are distinctly fond of meat, but cannot obtain it because the taking of life is forbidden by the teaching of the great Lord Buddha. Suppose an old cow were to stray into a jungle where a leopard might be lurking. The cow is, perhaps, struck down and the indignant owner arrives just too late to save its life, but not too late to prevent the leopard from enjoying the meat. Well, the poor cow is dead, and the owner's conscience is quite free - he hasn't taken life! But why leave good food to be eaten by such sinful creatures as leopards? Why waste what is really his own property?

Then there are the fatal accidents which frequently occur when men hunt leopards for the sake of sport. Well, few sports appeal to the true sportsmen unless they require considerable skill or entail a certain amount of risk, and the hunted leopard cannot be blamed for putting up the best show he can. After all, the hunter is armed with a marvellous rifle with which, provided he has sufficient skill in its use and the necessary knowledge of woodcraft, he can kill the leopard long before the latter can approach sufficiently near to make use of the close-contact weapons of teeth and claws which are all that Nature has given him. If the hunter makes a mess of things and wastes the tremendous advantages he has - well, it is undoubtedly very sad, but the leopard is fighting for his life in an unequal contest, and it is only fair that he should occasionally turn the tables and kill the man, who is trying to kill him often for the sake of pleasure alone.
May the day be far distant — as it undoubtedly will be — when the name of the leopard will have to be added to the long list of wild animals that have been exterminated by the hand of man.




I immidiately felt in love with the writing style of this man. His analogies not only have some spiritual touch, but are also highly entertaining in some cases! Like the part with the leopard and the indian police officers Grin  Yes this book is definitely  from the last century i thougt, when i reached this part. On the other hand, i was quite impressed, that in times of big game hunting there were still some people, who seemed to  thiink that all creatures (including man) are just part of a bigger picture. At least that was my impression when i read "what is the use of leopards". 
Apart from that, he offered a completely "new" explanation about the origin of cattle lifters. Not only natural causes as old age or injuries were the reason there were cattle stealing big cats, also intentional human intereference seemed to play a role. The desire for the taste of meat, blocked by religious norms, or the need/wish to get rid of unproductive cattle. Both went hand in hand with a good amount of hypocrisy.
Frederik Walter Champion is a name, which deserves to be mentioned when it comes to old books in my opinion. I was surprised the search machine didnt offered any results at first, but also was excited to mention this man and his book:Joking


book cover:


*This image is copyright of its original author

and some images with alternative cover:

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

And a link to a online library with the book itself: https://archive.org/details/JungleSunlightShadow
Look what the content list shows at page 176 Joking  Very excited to read all the other sections soon!
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Italy Ngala Offline
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ILLUMINATING THE BLIND SPOT: A Study on Illegal Trade in Leopard Parts in India (2001-2010) Raza, Chauhan, Pasha & Sinha, 2012
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Italy Ngala Offline
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Mapping black panthers: Macroecological modeling of melanism in leopards (Panthera pardus) Da Silva et al., 2017

*This image is copyright of its original author

Fig 1. Location of melanistic and non-melanistic leopard records analyzed in this study, overlaid on a map of terrestrial biomes (based on [35]).

Abstract:
"The geographic distribution and habitat association of most mammalian polymorphic phenotypes are still poorly known, hampering assessments of their adaptive significance. Even in the case of the black panther, an iconic melanistic variant of the leopard (Panthera pardus), no map exists describing its distribution. We constructed a large database of verified records sampled across the species’ range, and used it to map the geographic occurrence of melanism. We then estimated the potential distribution of melanistic and non-melanistic leopards using niche-modeling algorithms. The overall frequency of melanism was ca. 11%, with a significantly non-random spatial distribution. Distinct habitat types presented significantly different frequencies of melanism, which increased in Asian moist forests and approached zero across most open/dry biomes. Niche modeling indicated that the potential distributions of the two phenotypes were distinct, with significant differences in habitat suitability and rejection of niche equivalency between them. We conclude that melanism in leopards is strongly affected by natural selection, likely driven by efficacy of camouflage and/or thermoregulation in different habitats, along with an effect of moisture that goes beyond its influence on vegetation type. Our results support classical hypotheses of adaptive coloration in animals (e.g. Gloger’s rule), and open up new avenues for in-depth evolutionary analyses of melanism in mammals."
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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