Stoep Stories No 33
Monday, 2nd June 2014
Stoep Stories - Tales from the karoo
Published by the Graaff-Reinet Heritage Society
Leopards in the Karoo
By Marj Noel
Arthur Kingwill, very well – known in the karoo for many years and known familiarly as “AAK” lived on the farm St. Olive’s just beyond Ouberg at the beginning fo the 20th century. He mentions in his book “A Karoo Farmer looks back” that leopards were very troublesome in the mountain with the result that all mares in foal and cows in calf had to be moved to the flats below. Although he says that he never saw a leopard while he was on the farm he lost foals and calves during his eight years there.
His neighbour on the adjoining farm “Groothoek’ trapped eight leopards on his farm during this time. If he had not trapped them he may never have known that they were there.
These beautiful cats due to their secretive nature their excellent camouflage and their preference for solitary living have often been found close to human habitations without anyone living there being in the least aware of their presence. A few years ago local game expert Walter Murray of Bloemhof reported the presence of at least two leopards on his farm this was confirmed by the Nature Conservation Dept in Graaff – Reinet. Perhaps they are still in the surrounding mountains where there are known to be baboons. Interestingly Walter Murray says that to his knowledge during this period he lost some game calves but he lost no domesticated stock.