The African Leopard Exhibit and the Marangu Trail Outpost has been a labor of love for Southwick’s Zoo and Earth Limited. We’d like to thank the Milford National Bank, The Horridge family, and the MAGIC Mowgli program for making it happen. We’d also like to thank all those who have graciously donated funds and provided support that has helped Southwick’s Zoo & Earth Limited build Mowgli, our African Leopard, a new home. Mowgli is an African Leopard that was orphaned very early in life. Southwick’s Zoo adopted Mowgli even though we didn’t have the right type of facility to house him. It took over 3 years, but in 2008 the Marangu Trail Outpost opened and this gorgeous African Leopard was transfered to his new big, beautiful home. African Leopards are solitary animals so you can typically find Mowgli sprawled out on a limb of a tree or sunbathing on the rocks of his exhibit. He is very alert, loves to practice his stalking technique, and watch all the visitors at the park.
Scientific Name: Panthera Pardus
Other Names: Panthera, Chui (Swahili), Shabeel (Somolian)
Appearance: Leopards come in a wide variety of coat colors, from a light buff or tawny in warmer, dryer areas to a darker shade in in forests. The black spots called rosettes can be circular on an East African Leopards to square on a Southern African Leopard. Black Leopards (black panther) occur most frequently in humid forest habitats, they are a color variation of leopard and not a sub species. Leopards can weigh up to 150 pounds and reach 3 – 6 feet in length to 2 1/2 feet in height. They are the smallest of the big cats. They are very strong with powerful limbs, thick neck, heavy torso, and a long tail.
Lifespan: Leopards have been know to live up to 21 years in captivity and 12-17 years in the wild.
Habitat: An African Leopard is the only African cat that occupies both rain forest and arid desert habitats. Its spotted coat is almost perfect camouflage for these habitats. Leopards sleep in trees and will bring their food into the trees to feed. This stops bigger cats like lions from stealing their prey.
Diet: In the wild, a leopard is cunning and stealthy. Their prey range from dung beetles, birds, fish, and monkeys to antelopes and larger mammals. Leopards hunt alone and gracefully stalk their prey with their coat as their camouflage on land or in trees.
Predators: Man! Leopards are hunted for their fur and claws. Deforestation is also causing low populations. This animal is not on the endangered species list.
Fun Facts: When leopards are not hunting, it can move through herds of animals by flipping up it’s tail to reveal the white underside. This is a sign that it is not seeking prey! Leopards are solitary animals, they avoid other leopards and scent mark their territory. Leopards are great jumpers. They can jump up to 20 feet horizontally and 10 feet vertically. Leopards have been know to run up to 40 mph.
The Marangu Trail Outpost
The Marangu Trail Outpost features one of our newest retail locations. It is named after an actual climbing trail on Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. The outpost features African artifacts, hand made African Jewelry and Gifts, and souvenir merchandise featuring our Big Cats. Drinks and snacks are also available. This is a beautiful new building with a gorgeous painted mural of Mt. Kilimanjaro with an African Leopard and is must see here at Southwick’s Zoo.