This was the moment a wild leopard is seen caught in a snare and had to be rescued by a vet.
An onlooker with a smartphone filmed the big cat trapped in the snare on a farm near the town of Middelburg in north-eastern South Africa’s Mpumalanga Province.
Eyewitnesses called vet Deon Cornelius who knew he was up against the clock if he was to save the male leopard (Panthera pardus) before it died.
Video Credit: CEN /Witbanknews
He raced to the scene, tranquilised the leopard and transported it – still in the snare – to the Witbank Veterinary Hospital in the nearby city of Witbank.
Dr Nolan Landman, who was on duty at the hospital, quickly removed the snare, cleaned the wound and stitched it up.
However, the leopard had also badly damaged its chest muscles while trying to escape the snare and later had to go back into theatre for more treatment.
“He’s doing well and they hope to release him back to mother nature soon,” Dr Landman said later.
The incident sparked the Mpumalanga Leopard Conservation group to appeal for support from animal lovers.
It says the leopard was the 54th to be rescued from snares in the district and that more funds are needed to continue the work.
Leopards, which live in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because of habitat loss.