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The Leopard That Could

Kamal Dimachkie 2

Kamal Dimachkie talks about businesses in a fast-paced world and what they can learn from a Leopard's evolution...

April 4, 2013 4:44 by

Leopards are a fascinating study. They are beautiful. They are awesome. And they are very interesting.

We’re talking about fast, agile and stealthy predators that, remarkably, can take on a prey that is considerably larger than them because of their massive skulls and strong jaw muscles. They are capable jumpers both horizontally and vertically, outstanding climbers – often climbing while dragging heavy kills, which they hang on trees from which they then descend headfirst.They are also very good swimmers.

Much has been written about leopards; about their diversity, origin, habits and behaviour. They have been the subject of much discussion and debate, and have earned considerable attention and praise.

These beautiful predators are exceptionally adaptable, and this is perhaps the most significant trait they possess. While they are mostly associated with the savannah and the rainforests, they can be found as far as the Russian Far East, where temperatures reach lows of −25 °C, but they are equally as comfortable living in some of the world’s most humid rainforests and at the edges of some arid deserts.

Speaking of adaptability, nothing is more telling than their spots. The well-known proverb, ‘a leopard cannot change its spots’, is something that most of us have heard many times in our lives, yet a look at the different types of leopards suggests that this animal, as a matter of fact, has a variety of spots, patterns and colours.

Some have circular rosettes, others have more square ones; some are large, while others are small. Even the colour palette is different with yellow coats, pale and cream ones, darker golden hues all the way to the melanistic leopards that are totally black.

Admittedly, the above is the work of evolution over long stretches of time, though at times the behavior and the coat may show a sudden swerve, such the sighting of a rare ‘strawberry’ leopard in South Africa’s Madikwe Game Reserve, that confirms to us that this magnificent animal, in its continuous journey of adaptation, is capable of, quite literally, changing its spots.

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