In this perfectly timed video shoot, nature videographers catch the exact moments of a Leopard stalking a bird and jumping extremely high into the sky to catch it in the Serengeti NP, Tanzania. Check it out.
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The leopard (Panthera pardus) /ˈlɛpərd/ is one of the five species in the genus Panthera, a member of the Felidae. The leopard occurs in a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia and is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because leopard populations are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, and are declining in large parts of the global range. In Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait, Syria, Libya, Tunisia and most likely in Morocco, leopard populations have already been extirpated.
Contemporary records suggest that the leopard occurs in only 25% of its historical global range. Leopards are hunted illegally, and their body parts are smuggled in the wildlife trade for medicinal practices and decoration. Compared to other wild cats, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but generally has a smaller, lighter physique. Its fur is marked with rosettes similar to those of the jaguar, but the leopard’s rosettes are smaller and more densely packed, and do not usually have central spots as the jaguar’s do.
Both leopards and jaguars that are melanistic are known as black panthers. The leopard is distinguished by its well-camouflaged fur, opportunistic hunting behaviour, broad diet, and strength (which it uses to move heavy carcasses into trees), as well as its ability to adapt to various habitats ranging from rainforest to steppe, including arid and montane areas, and its ability to run at speeds of up to 58 kilometres per hour (36 mph). Fossil records suggest that in the Late Pleistocene it occurred in Europe and Japan.
The common name “leopard” /ˈlɛ.pərd/ is a Greek compound of λέων leōn (“lion”) and πάρδος pardos (“male panther”). The name reflects the fact that in antiquity, a leopard was believed to be a hybrid of a lion and a panther. The Greek word is related to Sanskrit पृदाकु pṛdāku (“snake”, “tiger” or “panther”), and probably derives from a Mediterranean language, such as Egyptian. The name was first used in the 13th century. Other vernacular names for the leopard include graupanther, panther and several regional names such as tendwa in India.
The term “black panther” refers to leopards with melanistic genes. A term for the leopard used in Old English and later, but now very uncommon, is “pard”. The scientific name of the leopard is Panthera pardus. The generic name Panthera derives from Latin via Greek πάνθηρ (pánthēr). The term “panther”, whose first recorded use dates back to the 13th century AD, generally refers to the leopard, and less often to the cougar and the jaguar. Alternative origins suggested for Panthera include an Indo-Iranian word meaning “white-yellow” or “pale”.