Leopard siblings, Jack and Claudi, began the adventure of their young lives when they were recently released into the wild at Nkomazi Private Game Reserve near eManzana (Badplaas) in southern Mpumalanga, South Africa.
The two animals were stolen from their den while they were cubs and offered for sale to illegal wildlife traffickers. Members of the Mpumalanga Parks and Tourism Agency (MPTA) got wind of the theft and managed to rescue the cubs about 18 months ago.
The MPTA handed the two leopards over to the Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary, where they spent three months before being moved to Nkomazi in May last year.
“It was an emotional moment for me to see those two animals walk free,” says Nkomazi’s co-owner, Dewyk Vos. “They’ve spent the past 14 months in a quarter-hectare enclosure and this became too small for them. The time was also right to release them into the greater part of the reserve; any longer in captivity and they would not be able to be rehabilitated.”
Click here to watch the video.