The Short Tail 5:4 Male Leopard had sat in suspense for a full 3 minutes before he moved. Waiting and watching the dusk settle in, he lay within meters of the unsuspecting impala herd. A distant grunt distracted the antelopes and the big male leopard was onto them in a flash. Through the lengthy autumn grass he crawled then leapt into full, stretch sinking his dew claw into the hind leg of an impale ewe. She made no sound as her body crashed to the ground receiving the deathly bite to her throat within milliseconds. Then there was silence, – persisting and eerie it lingered. The impala herd knew something had happened but they were not sure what. Bristling together, they huddled close and stared intently into the night as the dark dew of fear settled upon them.

Short Tail 5:4 Male by Cameron Appel

Short Tail 5:4 Male by Cameron Appel

The Short Tail male needed to act quickly, hyenas were rife in his territory and his quarry needed to be hoisted. Dragging the carcass to the trunk of a big Marula tree, one swift jump sent him and the limp carcass clawing steadily up the tree. Spectacular to watch, quintessential in meaning and vibrant in excitement, Short tail proceeded to spend the next 5 minutes shifting the carcass around trying to find a suitable branch to begin feeding. Unsatisfied, he once again gripped the carcass in mouth, nearly dropping it, before leaping midway across the established tree to stash the kill on a more open branch. Here he settled down and began to feed.

To witness a male leopard hoist a carcass and then jump across branches with it in tow, is truly spectacular. It demonstrates the incredible power of these big cats as well as their dexterous agility and balance. It is a true privilege to be able to enjoy this type of sighting in exclusivity with no other vehicles around. Alone and uninterrupted I was once again reminded of why Londolozi is without doubt one of the best places in the world to view these beautiful cats known as the Leopards of Londolozi.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about the activities and amazing strenghth of this leopard.  Please leave them in the comments section below.

Filmed & Produced by: Rich Laburn

Filed under Wildlife

About the Author

Rich Laburn

Head of Digital

Rich is the driving force behind Londolozi’s online storytelling and the Londolozi blog. His passions of digital media, film and photography, combined with his field-guiding background, have seen him take the Londolozi blog to new heights since he began it in 2009. Rich ...

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on Male Leopard Hoists and Leaps with Impala

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Marsha (Kinde) Siegle

Amazing!!!!! Could not believe the strength he had to carry it up into the tree, move it around and leap to another branch!!!! Incredible and thanks for that video.


It is quite astounding isn’t it. So effortless and graceful. I also loved watching him hoist it up the tree and the methodical power as he clawed up each step of the way. Rich


Amazing footage! Just a question… does the blinding spotlight not affect the leopard’s eye sight at night?


Karen, we are using an infra-red filter on the spotlight so no it does not affect its eye sight at night. We are also very conscientious of not shining the any lights whilst the leopard is hunting so as to not interfere in any way.


Any time i see this kind of performance by leopards, i’m shocked.
For an extreme powerful leopard like Short Tail it’s so easy hoist this prey that the scene reminds me of the movie “Predator”

Nancy Keane

Incredible- I’m as impressed by what you captured on video as I am with the leopard’s kill and subsequent hoist. What type of lighting did you use so as not to startle the leopard? We miss Londolozi on a near constant basis.


Hi Nancy, we used a standard spotlight with an infra-red filter attached onto it. As this leopard is frequently viewed the light does not startle him at all. Glad you are missing Londolozi, hopefully we can show you something to this effect on your next visit. Rich

The Game

Pound for pound, leopards are the strongest of predators. the footage is mesmerizing to see the most athletic predator in action. Enough said


All I can say is, “wow”. This was extraordinary to watch; the power and grace of this leopard is truly majestic. Thank you for sharing these moments with those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to be in Africa.


Jody, great pleasure. I am glad that you can take something away from this interesting and spectacular clip of footage. Thanks for your comment. Rich


Agree, the power is awesome. Saw a “hoist” a couple of weeks ago with Tom & Jerry where a male leopard spent over a minute working out all the angles before performing a single, fluid leap.


That is exactly what happened in this instance. We watched the leopard planning its jump, its route across the tree and where it would stash the kill. I am so pleased that you got the opportunity to see this in reality. Fantastic!!! Thanks for your comments, I will pass on to Tom and Jerry.

Penny Parker

That was too sensational! You guys produce the most amazing footage. (such is Londolozi) Congrats Rich! No Hyena’s around disturbing him that night? A meal in peace 🙂


No hyenas that night or the next day, we found him the morning after with the kill lodged in the base of the tree with him tearing it into pieces.

James T

Amazing footage Rich. Well filmed, I felt incredibly privileged to be there that night.
In further response to the questions about the spotlight and its impact on the leopard, I think some of the footage makes it appear to be far brighter than it actually was, most likely due to the great difference in exposure levels between the area in the light and the blackness surrounding it. The image we get from the more zoomed out frames appears to provide mid-way exposure for the halfway point between the darkness and the centre of the spotlight, and as a result, it appears very bright in the centre.
Having been at the sighting, I can assure everyone that the light was nowhere near as bright as it appears in some of the footage, and the leopard was in no way affected by it or our presence there!

Another incredible scene in the bush, with Rich in the right place at the right time to capture it for us. Well done!

Sue Edmunds

Thanks for the excellent footage of this beautiful powerful leopard. Those eyes when he is eating, wow!

Jo Lynne Jones

You’ve done it again! Beautifully written and then punctuated by the video. What a find. We are so appreciative of being able to keep up with the happenings at Londolozi now that we are home.

The blog adds to our list of the many reasons why we return to Londolozi.
Jo Lynne and Fred Jones


Thats fantastic to hear Jo Lynne and Fred, so pleased you like the video and enjoy keeping up to date with the happenings at Londoz. We’ll continue to keep the posts and videos rolling! Thanks for your comments.


free healthy recipes

This design is wicked! You certainly know how to keep a reader entertained.
Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my
own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Great job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that,
how you presented it. Too cool!


This video was awesome – showing the skills of truly a top predator and very cunning one – any idea on what is the weight of short tail?? – On average what is the average weight of a male leopard in londolozi game reserve?


Very cool

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