Bloodbath at Betty's Bay

24 June 2016 - 09:59 By ARON HYMAN

A leopard walked through a village in broad daylight and crossed a main road before killing 33 endangered African penguins in less than 15 minutes. But despite its display of boldness and bloodthirstiness, residents of Betty's Bay are fans."We are very sad about those 33 [penguins] that were killed but nature's got to take its course and there are thousands of penguins here," said resident Merle Foot."They're a bit out of control at the moment, and we feel very privileged that the leopard was here."Resident Van As Jordaan, who filmed the leopard on the edge of the Stony Point coastal nature reserve, said the 34th penguin the young animal attacked survived with neck wounds."It was Saturday afternoon three weeks ago. I saw this thing moving. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it was a leopard," he said."He is the top predator in the area, so he upholds his status."The leopard ate only two of the penguins but Landmark Foundation director Dr Bool Smuts said it was common for cats to kill more than they needed to eat.Leopards had been living undetected in Betty's Bay for some time, said Smuts."It is not unusual to have leopards populate places like Betty's Bay."We have demonstrated this through our leopard project for which we have GPS-collared leopards in the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape."Leopard live happily and undetected in these areas, and in towns such as Betty's Bay, Hermanus, Greyton, McGregor, Riversdale, George, Wilderness, Knysna and Port Elizabeth. We have often seen them operating close to houses."CapeNature said that if the leopard again attacked the penguin colony, the only one expanding on the mainland, it would have to act.British tourists Andy and Jeanette Baughey said yesterday at Stony Point they would favour the penguins above the leopard."It's indiscriminate . if it comes across a lot of easy food it would kill it all but it would waste 90% of it," said Andy.

This article is reserved for Sunday Times subscribers.

A subscription gives you full digital access to all Sunday Times content.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Registered on the BusinessLIVE, Business Day or Financial Mail websites? Sign in with the same details.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00.