Spot on for International Cat Day
One of the smallest of the big cats, the leopard is known for its shy personality, athleticism, and its spots, called rosettes. You can find leopards in many parts of Africa and Asia, but the subspecies pictured here roams the semiarid terrain of Sub-Saharan Africa. Skilled climbers and predominantly solo travelers, leopards can often be found draped along the branch of an acacia or other tall tree. They climb trees to hunt, but also to eat—they don’t like to share food, and they like to eat slowly.
Many African leopards live on wildlife preserves to protect them from overhunting and habitat loss. Botswana’s Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, where our photo was taken, protects the solitary leopard and its cousin, the more sociable lion. Conservation efforts like these are celebrated each August 8 on International Cat Day.