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A Secret Life

She moves in the comfort of the night, between the ancient spires of rock and stone, along the dark valleys that lead to the Cape of Storms. Nobody ever sees her, because we broke her trust long ago. Then, one evening, something triggers the camera trap. Out of the cold grey, a warm face appears. Curious,...

Photo by Chris Broekhoven

She moves in the comfort of the night, between the ancient spires of rock and stone, along the dark valleys that lead to the Cape of Storms.

Nobody ever sees her, because we broke her trust long ago.

Then, one evening, something triggers the camera trap.
Out of the cold grey, a warm face appears.
Curious, without fear.

Her gleaming eyes tell a story.
She is one of the last Cape Leopards to roam the rocky mountains at the southern tip of Africa.
It is a story of persecution, of grit, of survival.

What’s the ending?
Before we know, she dissolves back into the night,
leaving her deepest secret behind.

 

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This story originally appeared here. 

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Meet the Author

Paul Steyn
Paul Steyn is a widely-published multi-media content producer from South Africa, and regular contributor to National Geographic News and blogs. Having guided throughout Africa for some years, he went on to edit a prominent travel and wildlife magazine, and now focuses on nature storytelling in all its forms. In 2013, he joined a team of researchers and Bayei on a 250km transect of the Okavango Delta on traditional mokoros. In 2016, he accompanied the Great Elephant Census team in Tanzania and broke the groundbreaking results on National Geographic News . Contact: paul@paulsteyn.com Follow Paul on Twitter or Instagram