Leopard visits film set in Richards Bay

A leopard was seen in the early hours of Monday morning on the set of a film being shot in Richards Bay PHOTO: Stock photo

THE filming of a war-time jungle movie set in the Congo, took an interesting turn on Monday when the set at the old Bundu Nursery in Richards Bay was infiltrated by a leopard.

Following a week of night-time filming, the animal was seen in the early hours of Monday morning as the crew was packing up for the night.

Tracey Coertse of Meditrax Ambulance Service, who is involved in the film shoot, posted the surprise sighting on Facebook and said it crossed the road in front of them, but did not hang around.

As well as the leopard, there were numerous sightings of various snakes and, while no crocodiles were seen, they are known to be in the area.

At one point during filming, in true Zululand style, what is thought to be a fish eagle snatched the production company’s drone out of the air and dropped it in the swamp.

Richards Bay locals hired during the making of the film can be seen dismantling the set, including this roof which they had just lowered from a house
PHOTO: Tamlyn Jolly

A wade through croc-infested waters ensued to retrieve it.

According to an Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife Honorary Officer, the many greenbelt areas around Richards Bay, including Five Mile Beach and the old Bundu Nursery site, have produced numerous leopard sightings over the years.

These sightings have not led to any incidents, so residents need not worry about the presence of these big cats on the peripheries of town.

This silent and elusive creature is the least social of the African big cats and lurks in dense riverine bush and around rocky outcrops, emerging late in the afternoon and at night to hunt.

A leopard’s territory can range from 10 to 100 square kilometres, making it unlikely that the same animal will be seen repeatedly in the same area.

As part of the site rehabilitation, this access road which was resurfaced for the film shoot will be uplifted to ensure only soils natural to the area remain
PHOTO: Tamlyn Jolly

The Richards Bay leg of the film shoot has now come to an end and the crew has moved on to Durban to continue filming there.

The terrain of the location was recreated to look like scenery in the Congo, as the movie depicts rebel attacks on a night convoy of vehicles.

While residents in Arboretum Extension and the Rhus Lancea section of Arboretum were affected the most by the nightly noise of machine gun fire, it could be heard all the way to Meerensee.

Do Productions was on Monday breaking down the scene, including village houses that were constructed for the movie.

Locals were hired for this work, as well as for other tasks before and during filming.

In total, about 12 local residents were employed during the week-long filming in Richards Bay.

Once all the props and paraphernalia were removed, rehabilitation of the site would commence to ensure it returns to the state in which it was found.



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Tamlyn Jolly

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