Thursday, 9 December 2010

Farmer Shoots Leopard Dead

This is a translation from Afrikaans of the frontpage article carried by the Burger newspaper on 2 December 2010, by Andries Barnard.

Farmer shoots Leopard Dead

'Activists suggest this is a result of friction with the Landmark Foundation'

Environmental activists are very concerned after the Leopard named Zuma, the most well known in the Baviaanskloof, was shot dead by a farmer this past weekend.

According to activists, who wish to remain anonymous, the farmer shot the leopard during the night after he lured it using recorded night-sounds and a whistle.

“It is the result of disagreement between the farmer and the Landmark Foundation” says the activist.

The farmer, Mr Dawid Smith from the farm Kleinpoort, did not wish to comment yesterday evening over these comments, or the allegation that 'hy gedreig het on die luiperd van kant to maak nie.'

“Someone has opened a case with the police and all I want to say at this stage is that I did shoot the leopard. I did not do it illegally,” he added.

Zuma was caught two years ago in a special cage on the Kango Farm of Mr Chris Lamprecht in the Baviaanskloof. The Landmark Foundation placed a collar on the animal so that they could monitor his movements.

The Director of the Landmark Foundation, Mr Bool Smuts, said that the collar was replaced last year with a new one. According to him, Zuma was shot with a high calibre rifle.

“The unlawfull shooting of a leopard that was a great tourist attraction for the Baviaanskloof, was a huge shock.”

“The authorities have already been asked to undertake a thorough investigation of the incident.”

Smuts added that environmentalists were aware that the animal had taken stock, but that it was unnecessary to kill the animal.

“Mr Smith decided to shoot the leopard after the Landmark Foundation did not compensate him for loss of livestock that was killed by a leopard ...” said Mr Smuts.

Mr Johann du Plessis, chairman of the Baviaanskoof Kouga Kaapse Bergluiperd-bestuurskomitee (BKKB) said his organisation did not support the wiping out of leopards, but that farmers have the right to see to the safety of their livestock and workers.

“Smith did not lure the leopard with a whistle or recordings. He found the animal amongst his livestock. Leopards cause thousands of rands of damage and the BKKB supports the cause that problem animals are hunted under a 'green' hunting system to compensate for losses. A farmer can recoup R250 000 of their losses if a leopard is hunted under this system” said Du Plessis.

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