Text by CHT & Photography by Jason Yeap
With more than 300 mammal species in Africa, the spotted big and small cats are among the popular ones for tourists to catch a glimpse of. Unlike the lions, the leopards, jaguars, panthers and servals live in very small groups or alone most of the time. This makes them harder to locate.
Today, very few leopards still roam freely in the wild as they are mainly found in national parks or game reserves. One of the best places to find this big cat is in Botswana. However, one must remember that these animals are nocturnal and live in solitary making them the most elusive of Africa’s big cats. On the other hand, cheetahs may be the fastest animal on earth but these sleek, majestic animals are now designated as Vulnerable to Extinction due to habitat loss and human conflict even though Serengeti is famous for a high cheetah population.
Jaguars may be the third largest cats in the world after the lions and tigers, yet they are not easily spotted, especially in the Pantanal, Brazil, the biggest tropical wetland on earth bigger than England. Unlike its big sized cousins, the small inquisitive servals are very territorial with a range of 12 to 20 square kilometres. Often Safari guides in Tanzania are of the opinion that it is all about luck to come face to face with this glamorous and exotic species.