Tshuma is a male African leopard (Panthera pardus). His name means “money maker” in Swahili. He was born in December 2009. He has become a budding actor. So far he has done the Tonight show with Jay Leno, as well as the Chelsea Lately show, and Animal Planet. This leopard really enjoys traveling and is one of our ambassadors for our new facility.

The leopard is the smallest of the five ‘big cats’ of the genus Panthera, with the Asiatic leopard being smaller than its African counterparts. It has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. Their fur patterns are often confused with those of cheetahs and jaguars. While leopards have a rosette pattern similar to jaguars, the leopard’s rosettes do not have a central spot inside the rosette, and cheetahs are simply spotted without rosettes. Melanistic leopards are often called black panthers, which also applies to melanistic jaguars. Caused by a recessive gene, the melanistic leopard can look completely black furred but with more light, the rosette pattern can be seen as a darker pattern than the slightly less dark fur surrounding it.

They hunt wildebeest, impala, gazelle, hares, rodents and many other small animals. Their powerful limbs and large jaws allow them to drag their prey, sometimes three times their own size, up into trees to keep other animals, such as lions and hyenas, from stealing it. They use their long tails to balance themselves while climbing.

Leopard habitat ranges throughout most of Africa, and Asia from the Middle East to the Soviet Union, Korea, China, India, and Malaysia.

African Leopard Statistics:

Body Length 3-5 feet; tail 2-3 feet
Weight Up to 200 pounds; females smaller
Gestation Period         90-105 days
Litter Size 2-3 average
Life Span 12 – 17 years
Status Various, depending on Subspecies