National Geographic : 2001 Oct
TH EIR COM MON EN EMY, hunger, prevents Tjololo and a hyena from abandoning a fresh kill. In a bloody tug-of-war the cat-attempting to stash the impala-and the spotted hyena tore at the carcass from either end (far right) until it fell in a heap on the ground, where the two set upon it, ravenous for meat (below). Not until four more from the hyena's clan arrived did Tjololo back away. Another day it took only two of these powerful opportunists to tree Tjololo (one visible, right). A lion, the leopard's most dangerous foe, can do the job solo-then snag the smaller cat's quarry or a vulnerable cub. Like all big cats, leopards face threats other than their natural competitors. Poachers and sport hunters take their toll, as do farmers who kill predators to protect livestock. Even more deadly is habitat loss. P pardus is perhaps the most widespread of wild felines-living in much of Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia-but many leopards now exist in fragmented pop ulations on the edges of human civilization. Although Watch an interview with Kim Wolhuter and listen to a they are still abundant in sub-Saharan Africa, solid esti leopard's call at nationalgeo mates of their numbers are lacking. Even where they graphic.com/0110. seem to thrive, their future is far from secure.