The Boss, a leopard doing his best for a species up against it…

The top is The Boss, the bottom at the same location, is one of his girlfriends and I’ve put boxes around two tiny offspring. This isn’t the post I’d planned, I’ll have more about these particular leopards at a later date but it’s been a really rough start for leopards in India and Nepal for 2021 based on poaching/seizure data for the first 3 months. It’s actually 18 years to the day since a seizure of 109 leopard skins in Kathmandu, I was in the region, it happened at a time when the armed conflict was still peaking, a type of civil war which changed the country. For the leopard however, not much has changed, it is still persecuted, it is still a conservation blind spot, it is still an animal very few care about and the task of trying to get the species a fair deal is extremely hard. Getting to understand leopards such as The Boss is learning how hard it is for these animals, what they are up against and those who have followed my own efforts (and I thank you) know that I have tried as hard as I can to see the world through the eyes of the leopard, I do my best to create a picture of what is really happening. The Boss operates in a difficult environment, he has tigers on one side, humans on the other, he walks a fine line. He has I believe 3 girlfriends in his territory plus possibly now a 4th after a remarkable relationship with a young female in rehabilitation, now free, something I put a lot of heart and soul into. So the story of The Boss is a compelling one, he does have the advantage of living mainly in protected area but for many leopards there’s no such luxury, poachers operate with impunity, leopard bones, claws, teeth and skins are of value in a messed up economy created by man. Other leopards are killed in retaliation simply because they are misunderstood, they are just trying to survive in a world beyond their control. The two tiny cubs you see here face an uncertain future, their story is yet to unfold, some of us are trying very hard to make sure they can have that story. This year I’ll be story telling about different leopards in the hope you become part of that effort…