IOL reports that two leopards - a male and a female - have been transported by plane from South Africa, across 1,000 kilometres on a mission to repopulate the Majete Wildlife Reserve in Malawi. When they are set free in mid-January, the leopards will probably hang around the area for another week, and then take off to explore the 700 square kilometres of their new domain.
Each wears a collar that sends a satellite signal so park officials can track their movements.
The leopards were caught in rural South Africa after their hunting spree wreaked havoc on farmers' ostrich populations. They were taken to the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in northeast South Africa, where they spent a few weeks before the move to Malawi. "The male is 22 months old and the female 17. Unfortunately we'll have to wait a year or two before they can reproduce," Brian Jones, Moholoholo's director, told IOL.
Proclaimed in 1955, Malawi's Majete reserve suffered extensive poaching which severely depleted the numbers of its animals. However, since a conservation group took over management after a 2003 deal with Malawi's government, over 2,500 antelopes, elephants, buffalo and rhino have been reintroduced. And more big cats are coming. Next July, lions will arrive in Malawi to do their bit to repopulate the Majete reserve.
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