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We’re used to hearing of baboons infiltrating houses in Cape Town, or lions escaping from the Kruger National Park, but leopards hiding in laundry baskets in Benoni? That’s a new one.
The juvenile spotted night cat was found in the Johannesburg suburb by South African Wildlife Rehabilitation Center (SAWRC) and Benoni SPCA on Monday, this after it received calls from concerned residents.
“We loaded up our trap, and headed out with bait food fully expecting a serval. Well. Were we wrong!!” it posted on Facebook.
“After getting to the first property where we thought it had taken refuge under some tarps, we casually walked up to the tarps and began lifting them. After clearing that space, we, along with the SPCA Benoni crew, moved around the corner to where someone had reported ‘an odd animal’.”
The now internet-famous Benoni leopard was found hiding in a laundry room in a resident’s home
As it turns out, it was a young leopard — around five months old, noted the Sowetan — that let himself into a small laundry room in a Benoni resident’s house.
Benoni isn’t exactly a low population area. In 2011, more than 150 000 people lived in the area, with a density of 277 per square kilometer. Throwing a big cat into the middle of this lot isn’t a small matter. But thankfully, the cat was darted and was transported to a vet where it was checked. It’s healthy, and is now heading to a conservancy.
When he’s ready to leave the conservancy, “he will be able to walk straight out his current enclosure, and be in a remote, pristine area which will be his new home, with thousands of hectares to freely roam!” the SAWRC concluded.
It’s not clear what the leopard was found in a populated area. Perhaps he was attending a screening of the Lion King? Either way, the entire fiasco went viral on Facebook, where it received more than 200 reactions, 70 comments and just under 200 shares.
The below video, showcasing just how big a five-month old leopard actually is, has been viewed over 3700 times.
And yes, he’s adorable.
South Africans are pretty used to seeing wild animals roam the streets of its largest cities. Last month, a pride of lions wandered beyond the boundary of the Kruger National Park, but later returned.
Feature image: screenshot, SAWRC via Facebook