A big cat conservation group is handing out faux-leopard print capes to residents of South African communities who wear the real animal skins for ceremonial purposes. Leopard skins have become a wardrobe essential for the 5 million members of South Africa's Shembe Church, a church founded in 1910 by Isaiah Shembe that melds Zulu and Christian elements. Though some skins are handed down through the family, many church members are seeking new ones, which means more poaching of the graceful hunters. To reduce leopard poaching, Panthera, a big cat conservation organization, along with the shipping company DHL, is delivering 4,000 free amambatha to church members this year.
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