When two six-week-old leopard cubs, born in captivity in Zimbabwe, arrive at the Londolozi private game reserve in South Africa, 22-year-old game ranger Graham Cooke is assigned to take care of them. Based in an unfenced tented camp in the Londolozi bush, where lions, hyenas and other leopards abound, Graham’s first task is to gain the cubs’ trust before he begins to guide them towards release in the wild where they can assume their role as Africa’s most efficient predators.
My Life with Leopards
About the book:
After weeks of infinite patience and gentleness in his interactions with them, Graham is eventually accepted into the cubs’ small family unit and, with a growing understanding of their behaviour, he finds ways of communicating with them. Slowly, he begins to introduce the young leopards to their new environment.
Tapping into their individual personalities, Graham finds himself particularly drawn to the reserved and aloof little female whose wariness contrasts sharply with her brother’s easy-going nature. But, over time, both cubs come to recognise him as their protector and friend and he forms a unique bond with the young leopards which enables him to gain unparalleled insights into their development and behaviour. When, a year later, the cubs are relocated to the Zambian wilderness in preparation for their release into the South Luangwa Valley, Graham has to face the hardest task of all: to set free the young charges he has become devoted to so that they can return to a wild existence where he is unable to control their fate. My Life with Leopards is available in bookstores now.