Tutorial for Leopard Matching
by AnLand moderator
This tutorial explains briefly how you can identify (= match) individual leopards while comparing their pelage pattern. It also shows some methods to present your opinions here in the discussions on Talk.
Leopards have a periodic pelage (= fur) pattern of dark rosettes and spots on a yellowish background. These rosettes and spots are uniquely formed and arranged in each individual and can be recognized. The individuality is often so strong that already a single rosette or combination of three rosettes with a specific look can prove a match. Rosettes are mostly concentrated on the back, the flanks, the hindlimbs, and the upper tail; while the paws, throat, and underbelly are spotted.
Please keep in mind that the strong individuality of the fur pattern also means that the left and right sides of the body do not display the same pattern!
Specific individual marks like injuries, specifics of a tail, or torn ears can prove a match without any reference to the fur pattern. Match proposals only based on these characteristics are welcome, too!
How to show a matching pattern?
There are several ways to discuss the fur pattern and indicate in screenshots which part of the pattern supports your match proposal best.
The easiest way to discuss is to post one of the native screenshots (0–15) that are linked under the video on Talk.
You can then describe with the help of the sections indicated in the figure below, where a recognizable pattern is found:
(1) head, (2) forelimb, (3) middle, (4) hindlimb, (5) tail.
Please be creative in your description. For example: “the pattern on the upper right of the middle section looks like a fish with a big fluke”, “it looks like a mushroom (or a letter) to me”. A description like these makes it easier for others to find your proposed recognizable pattern and assess for themselves. They are also a bit suggestive, so be critical when reviewing proposals!
You can modify the screenshots or take video stills from other points of the video and point to the marker you want to discuss or frame the area as seen in the next figure.
You can even frame the proposed matching section and enlarge it for better comparison.
A direct comparison is of course perfect, but we can discuss your proposal also with less image editing skills applied. Do not worry too much about the presentation. Other volunteers should just be able to review your proposal thoroughly. So, they need to know where to look.
If you think that it is necessary for your proposal to actually draw into the screenshot and highlight the pattern you want to discuss, please post both pictures, the original and the modified version, for a better assessment as this is a very suggestive method for a comparison. We need to be able to see the actual pattern on the leopard to be sure.
In all presented methods is changing to a black-and-white mode optional. We did it here for a better visualization.
If you have any questions, please post here or in the respective matching discussions!