Leopard in Swahili: chui (Pathera pardus)
Shoulder height: 70 cm; 60 – 80 kg. The powerful leopard is the most solitary and secretive of Africa’s large cat species. It hunts using steath and power, often getting to within five metres of its intended prey before pouncing, and it habitually stores its kill in the tree to keep it from hyenas and lions. The leopard can be distinguished from the superficiatlly similar cheetah by its rosette-like spots, lack of black ‘tear marks’ and more compact, powerful build. Leopards occur in all habitats, favouring areas with plenty of cover such as riverine woodland and rocky slopes. There are many records of individuals living in close proximity to humans for years without being delecte. The leopards is the most common of Africa’s large felines, found throughtout Tanzania, yet a good sighting must be considered a stroke of fortune. One relatively reliable spot for leopard sightings is the seronera Valley in the Serengeti. An endemic rare of leopard occur on Zanzibar, although recent research suggests that it is probably extinct on the island, and that the handful of local reports of leopard sightings were probably the result of confusion with the African civet and introduced Java civet.