The leopard population in Southern Africa has been steadily declining over the last 20 years.
Known as the ‘King of the Jungle’ in African folklore, the cause for the decline has been almost entirely human - driven by an increasing demand for their skin. It’s estimated that in certain areas of Southern Africa, leopards could disappear within 5 years.
By incorporating leopard skins into their traditional dress, the people of the four million strong Shembe Church have been unwittingly bringing about the demise of the animal they so much respect. Previously undocumented by conservationists, and with more than 800 leopards being killed each year in the region, something drastic had to be done.