Since discovering the unsustainable and illegal use of leopard skin garments at a South African Shembe religious gathering this summer, Panthera’s resident leopard expert, Tristan Dickerson, has been searching for a solution to discourage the hunting of local leopards for their skins, and he may have found his answer. Recently, Tristan met with a Zulu community chief and Shembe follower to discuss creating a fake leopard skin to distribute among the Shembe religious community. So far, Tristan and the Munyawana Leopard Project staff have developed two leopard skin patterns, and are working to perfect this pattern to create a convincing leopard skin “knock-off.” We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the Munyawana team’s progress. Until then, read our July newsletter to learn more about the Shembe gathering Tristan attended and see fascinating video footage from the event. Also see our December newsletter for the latest featured leopard conservation story.