January: Leopard Moon

The leopard (Panthera pardus) is one of South Africa’s iconic Big Five animals and the second largest of the big cats in South Africa.

Because it is nocturnal it is also one of the more elusive animals to actually see in the wild.

The expansion of human habitation and especially stock farming activities has made the leopard an unwelcome guest in most farming areas and in the past it was indiscriminately shot.

Conservation efforts have ensured that a few leopards still roam the Cederberg and other mountain ranges of the Western Cape. This graceful animal is nevertheless on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of endangered species.

For many of the indigenous groups in South Africa, the wearing of a leopard skin is a sign of importance, power and even of royalty reflecting this big cat’s regal appearance and acknowledging its fearlessness, strength and ferocity. Conservation organizations have begun supplying imitation leopard skins to satisfy the needs of this important traditional requirement and thereby reduce the hunting of the leopard.

Like its namesake, the Leopard Moon is scarce: in the period 2020 – 2050, the Leopard Moon only occurs twice.

Dates of Leopard Moon

2037 Jan 31, 16:00

2048 Jan 31, 02:18

The first Full Moon in January is the Mantis Moon.

Heritage Full Moons in South Africa

MonthFirst Full MoonSecond Full Moon
JanuaryMantis MoonLeopard Moon
FebruaryDassie Moon——
MarchHarvest MoonOchre Moon
AprilDiamond MoonGold Moon
MayFrost MoonFire Moon
JuneSisters MoonHoney Moon
JulyMeerkat MoonProtea Moon
AugustPeace MoonDusty Moon
SeptemberSpring MoonBlue Crane Moon
OctoberWhale MoonElephant Moon
NovemberMilk MoonWool Moon
DecemberSpringbok MoonEland Moon

Protecting South Africa’s astronomical heritage