Safari Story: Desperate

photographic safaris south Africa Kenya Botswana Tanzania Namibia desperate leopard

It was in the Sabi Sand in South Africa that we followed a young male leopard. He was not from the area and he had to be very cautious, because he was on the territory of an older strong male leopard. One could see that in his behavior. He was nervous, moving constantly and he was hungry. We followed him during a couple of game drives and he became more and more desperate. He probably hadn’t had a kill for a few days now and that didn’t help him with his concentration on the hunt. At one stage he just ran right into a herd of impala, not even trying to stalk, just hoping to snatch one, which of course didn’t happen. On the same morning he was in a tree when an antelope walked passed underneath the tree. The antelope saw him and was gone in a flash, he still on the branch, just looking frustrated. We started feeling desperate as well. He must have food now. The leopard continued moving through the area and he came pretty close to a house where a guy was working outside. We gave the guy a warning that a hungry leopard was around, but he seemed not impressed. Well, we took a break and went for lunch back to the lodge. When we went out again after lunch we heard that “our” leopard had finally made a kill! Our thought was immediately, did he get the guy from the house? Well, he did not. The leopard was happily sitting in a tree with his kill, a nyala, and enjoying his meal. We were happy too. He made it. Once again a leopard’s perseverance had won from bad luck, hunger and difficult circumstances on enemy territory. They are survivors, the leopards.

Ute Sonnenberg for