SI Vault
Edited by Andrew Crichton
November 25, 1974
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November 25, 1974


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The animal is managing to save its highly prized skin, at least for the present, because of a combination of stealth, strength and adaptability. Leopards, Myers writes in the latest issue of Inter' national Wildlife, can live close to man without being detected. Stronger, pound for pound, than any other predator, they can leap from cover, bring overwhelming power to bear on their prey and haul it out of sight, often up a tree, all in a matter of moments.

While leopards favor big game, unlike the lion they are not picky, and willingly hunt rats, birds, frogs, fish, snakes and other small fry. They can live in the intense heat of Kenya's Indian Ocean shore country or in the ice fields of Kilimanjaro, in bush country and the desert, but they do best in the great rain forests of the Zaire River basin, where it is hard and expensive for hunters and poachers to get at them. They will outlive the other large animals of Africa, which operate in the open and somewhat clumsily, as long as they have their forest cover, which will depend upon the pressure to develop new farm land.

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