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Panthera pardus 

Linguistics
Actual scientific name :   Panthera pardus 
     
Old scientific name :    
     
French name :   Léopard; Panthère
     
English name :   Leopard
     
Vernacular name :  
Nge, kisumpa, nkashama (Kiluba); nge (Kisonge) ; nge (Kiluba-PNU) ; ingo (Kilala); Kamfuma (Kitabwa) ; n-ge (Kiholoholo) ; tshisumpa (Lunda); tshisupa (Ulwena); ingi; ngehe (Kibangubangu) ; Xhisumpa (Kikaonde) ; imbwili; iñgo (Kiaushi) ; Mbwili (Kilala); cisenga (Kitshok); nkashama (Kiluba); chisumpa (Kindembo); Nkashama (Tshiluba); incense, imbalali (Kilamba) ; nkoi (Lingala) ; imbwiri; mbwili, mbwidi (Kibemba) ; Tshui (Kiswahili)
 


 

Zoology
Call :  
     
Description :   This cat with an elongated and muscular body has a coat varying from straw to grey or hazelnut. The back of its short ears is black with a white median spot. These white spots are perceived as eyes by other animals. Throat, breast, stomach and the inside of its legs are white. The rest of its body is covered with black spots forming rosettes. Thorax is powerful and legs are large and powerful, helping to climb on trees.
Some panthers are black, due to a phenomenon called melanism ("abnormal development of dark pigmentation in the skin"). The leopard measures between 170 and 270 cm long (With a tail ranging from 80 to100 cm). Shoulder height: between 50 and 70 cm, weight: between 28 and 90 kg.  
     
Habitat :   Forests, brushes, grassland.
 
     
Behaviour :   Leopards have an amazing ability to go undetected. They are furtive and elegant. They are excellent climbers and very good swimmers.
Leopards are essentially nocturnal but can be seen at any hour of the day. Generally, during the day, they rest on rocks, in bush or in trees.
They are mainly solitary but groups of 3 or 4 individuals are sometimes observed.
They kill their preys by biting them at the nape of the neck or by strangulation, and suspend them in a tree, safe from the other carnivores.
They have an average lifespan of 10 years. 
     
Diet :   Feed mainly on medium-sized preys such as impalas, jackals, antelopes, Thompson’s gazelle, wildebeest, warthogs, storks, baboons, etc. They also feed on rodents, rabbits and even fish. 
     
Life history :   In Africa, leopards breed all year around. Females give birth sheltered in a cave, hollow tree, or thicket. After a gestation period of 105 days, females give birth to 2 or 3 cubs. Cubs open their eyes after about 10 days and tend to have a longer and thicker fur than adults. Moreover, their coat is more grey and their spots less defined. At about 3 months, the young leopards start to follow their mothers on hunt. They stay with their mothers for 18 to 24 months.
 
     
Distribution in Katanga :   view map  
 
 
History, Ethnology, Sociology
Interactions with humans :   The injured leopard is a very dangerous animal. This feline attacks ovine and goats breedings. He does real massacres. For one animal that he takes, he often leaves many others bled white or disemboweled.  
     
Taboos :    
     
Legends, believes, folklore :   In the region of Kabongo existed the court of the leopard. The accused had to testify on a leopard's skin. If they lied, they were convinced that the spirits invoked by the chief would make them die quickly. Often, the accused preferred to admit and to pay the fines rather than to take this risk. This court did not pronounce punishment but were satisfied with with making the truth appear. It is the citizens who could ask for the leopard judgment after sentencing by the customary court. 
     
Fishing, hunting :   The foreign hunters consider the leopard as one of the most prestigious five trophies (big five). As forthe lion, the leopard was not traditionally hunted by the Bemba because of the fear to kill a reincarnated chief.
By the tribes of the Luapula, a leopard's trap consists to place a dog bound by a leg to a perfectly smooth trunk on a horizontal branch at a height slightly superior to the one at which the leopard can jump(approximately 5m). Underneath are stuck in the ground, in a rather scattered way, wooden fragments of which the sharp point is pointed upward. At night, when the leopard comes towards the dog roaring from pain or from terror, the felin jumps to catch the bait and heavily falls again, sometimes impaling itself on one of the pickets. 
     
Feeding :   Meat is consumed.  
     
Breeding, taming :    
     
Uses of skin or other body parts :   Leopard's skin, claws and teeth are the exclusive propriety of the chiefs. They are part of their power badges.  
  


Warning :

This database was established according to official pieces of work and with the help of famous scientists. However, there might be some errors.

The vernacular names were collected in the field and in the colonial literature from the first part of the 20th century. The monks who established the first dictionaries were not necessarily informed naturalists. Therefore, errors must have been committed.

We invite everyone who could help us to improve this working tool to contact us in order to correct us and share her/his knowledge with us.



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