Leopards in NNP


Last week I had the pleasure of meeting up with Yumi, a zoologist from Kyoto University researching leopards in NNP, specifically looking at the conservation of these elusive cats & at interaction between leopards & people in the extraordinary periurban situation that is Nairobi National Park.


Yumi trapped & collared 2 female leopards in the park in January this year & has been trying to keep up with them through radio signals & GPS readings showing their movements since then.

One of these is probably the individual that wakes me up at night by walking on my currugated iron roof as it was trapped along the Empakasi River next to the Masai Gate below the Silole Sanctuary where I live……Yumi estimates her age as less than 3 years old, which makes her immature..

The other moves in & out of the park from the Mukoma Road Estate into the Langata Forest. This individual is also young, but appears from the examination of her teats to have had cubs…

She has positively identified at least 5 different males & estimates the entire NNP population at between 10-20. The huge margin for error is perfectly easy to understand by those of us who are lucky enough to spot a leopard in the park….


KWS report a female with 3 cubs in the Langata Forest. Females appear to share territory, whilst males are much less tolerant of intruders……


If anybody has information or sightings of leopards in NNP please let me know & I will pass on to Yumi…


A usual sighting of a leopard -a sleeping beauty almost impossible to see amongst the foliage. Leopards are mainly noctournal &  are opportunistic predators eating whatever is locally available . Not surprisingly around NNP they are very fond of eating dogs & cats including my dachshund last year…….

Photos by top cat-spotter Dave McKelvie.

5 thoughts on “Leopards in NNP”

  1. Hi Will,

    We are back in Finland and of course I had to come and read your blog as soon as I could. Thank you for everything and it was great to see NNP, for it makes it a lot easier to relate to your blogs when one has been there. Amazing that there are so many leopards in NNP!

    Keep on blogging and letting us know what is happening over there. Did you also get some rain in NNP last week?

  2. wow! leopards in NNP! did you say trapped? you mean the leopards can’t move or migrant to other areas? and regarding to their fun of consuming dogs and cats. they do need meat to exist and plenty of dogs and cats around and they are easy catch. when pitching wildlife animal against the domestic ones, i root for the wild naturally even though i have pet cats and donate much of my time and money for the abandoned ones at my local shelters. i just hope the leopards will not get canine and feline distemper by being so close with these domestic animals. remember the death of many lions and other predators by domestic canine distemper and rabies?

  3. Hi Sauwah: you are right about distemper – it is a major risk for the Carnivora in NNP & could it be one reason why jackals are so uncommon? (The other is that leopards eat them!!)

    What IS a major problem is a skin fungus affecting many of the park’s grazers: I have noticed it on buffalo, zebra, eland & Thompson’s gazelles & this might become worse as our grazers are confined to the park in the future – a sort of ‘zoo’ disease…..

  4. is the skin fungus like a ring worm for cats and dogs? i wonder the grazers could be spread with some fungus killing powder? as far as i am concerned, there is no such thing as absolute wilderness for all land now is controlled and influenced by people and our development. and since park has boundary and boundary is man made, we have the obligation to lend wildlife a helping hand some how as long as we do not take sides or play favorite ( although orphan elephants do get rescued , while other wild orphans are left to die like orphan or abandoned lion/leopard cubs and other grazers’ off springs. such baby elephant rescue denies a meal or a chance of a meal for some hungry mother lioness or mother with hungry cubs, etc …).

  5. Jackals rare? I saw a group of 4 young ones at Karen Primary School dam (near No.7) last sunday with my wife. Very obviously a set of pups finding their way around. that dam and the area near Mbuni picnic site are usually where I see them. I am not saying they are not rare but I am sharing a little good news about an apparent increase in the population by 4!

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