|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|This is from my visit to Botswana at Chobe National Park. It was bit drizzling when we saw this beautiful animal lazying in a branch. I hope you like the capture and thanks for standing by.|
The African Leopard (Panthera pardus pardus) is a leopard subspecies occurring across most of sub-Saharan Africa. In 2008, the IUCN classified leopards as Near Threatened, stating that they may soon qualify for the Vulnerable status due to habitat loss and fragmentation. They are becoming increasingly rare outside protected areas. The trend of the population is decreasing.
African leopards exhibit great variation in coat color, depending on location and habitat. Coat color varies from pale yellow to deep gold or tawny, and is patterned with black rosettes while the head, lower limbs and belly are spotted with solid black. Male leopards are larger, averaging 60 kg (130 lb) with 91 kg (200 lb) being the maximum weight attained by a male. Females weigh about 35 to 40 kg (77 to 88 lb) in average.
Between 1996 and 2000, 11 adult leopards were radio-collared on Namibian farmlands. Males weighed 37.5 to 52.3 kg (83 to 115 lb) only, and females 24 to 33.5 kg (53 to 74 lb).
Leopards inhabiting the mountains of the Cape Provinces appear physically different from leopards further north. Their average weight may be only half that of the more northerly leopard.
African leopards used to occur in most of sub-Saharan Africa, occupying both rainforest and arid desert habitats. They were found in all habitats with annual rainfall above 50 mm (2.0 in), and can penetrate areas with less than this amount of rainfall along river courses. They range exceptionally up to 5,700 m (18,700 ft), have been sighted on high slopes of the Ruwenzori and Virunga volcanoes, and observed when drinking thermal water 37 °C (99 °F) in the Virunga National Park.
They appear to be successful at adapting to altered natural habitat and settled environments in the absence of intense persecution. There were many records of their presence near major cities. But already in the 1980s, they have become rare throughout much of West Africa.
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