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Leopards Fight in Marula Tree

by Adam Bannister on March 12, 2012

in Leopards of Londolozi,Photography,Wildlife Diary

Post image for Leopards Fight in Marula Tree

The Maxabeni Female superbly hoisted her latest kill into the branches of a Marula tree. She fed for a while before settling down for a little sleep. She had been magnificent and deserved a rest. The kill was safe up in the tree…or was it?

The Maxabeni Female finishes hoisting her kill

We saw him approaching from the north. The massive frame of the Camp Pan Male. The southerly wind had carried the smell of death across the airwaves. Dinner was waiting… why kill for yourself when others have done all the hard work!

It's not only the power, but the finer details, that make these cats breathtaking

She did not see him until he had launched himself into the tree. In a flash he was on top of her and beating her with his heavy paws. He is double her size and much more aggressive. The movement of the two leopards high up in the tree was spectacular. In an instant, not only had he stolen her kill, but chased her into the upper canopy of the tree. He could now feed on the young male Impala.

But his aggression did not end there…he carried on harassing her, beating her whenever she tried to move. She was desperate to get down from the tree and onto terra firma. Hopping from branch to branch she tried every angle. His patience finally go the better of him and he attacked…from a height of 10 meters he sent her flying. I have never seen a leopard be hit out of a tree before! Impossible to capture on film, but forver engrained in my mind, is the image of her falling; legs splayed, falling and falling. She hit the ground with a thud and ran…how she got out of this one unscathed I have no idea. The Leopards of Londolozi amaze me once more.

Camp Pan Male bringing the remains of the kill back down the tree. He wanted to drink but was too afraid to leave the kill in the tree, so he took it with him.

Written, filmed and photgraphed by Adam Bannister

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Brett March 12, 2012 at 13:16

Chivalry is dead in Leopard Society then it seems!

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Anne Wiles March 12, 2012 at 16:53

Well my guess is that we must have seen your earlier leopards of 30 years ago as we visited Londolozi several times (my husband was marketing director of Metal Box and the overseas directors loved Londolozi). I have a question (and i should know this one) – How long does an average healthy leopard live? Your blog and photography is breathtaking. I am sitting at work drooling over the latest story of the female literally flying out of her tree (once her’s and now the nasty male’s) What a story guys. This is a prize winner I am sure.

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Trevor & Colleen Patrick March 12, 2012 at 18:02

So hard to believe that is the same two we saw mating for days in about 2005!

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Sandy Johnson March 12, 2012 at 21:51

Camp Pan is a cad! Does he ever kill on his own? Every time I read about him, he has stolen another cat’s prize.

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kiki March 12, 2012 at 22:24

Thanks Adam!

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Chuck March 12, 2012 at 22:53

Great shots. What a memory of seeing her jump down from that height!,
Thanks do sharing!,

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Sue Deale March 13, 2012 at 15:19

No one comes close to Londoz for the leopards! Great shots!

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Sheena March 13, 2012 at 18:45

What a bully – I noticed he did not like having his back towards her in the tree – it was true justice that she landed okay – what a joy to see a flying leopard – hope Camp Pan got indigestion !!!

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Sandy Johnson March 14, 2012 at 18:06

Made me laugh out loud!

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Keith Cox March 13, 2012 at 22:13

Whenever you think you have seen it all ,something like this happens ,superb action thanks Adam maybe thats why the local ladies like him no favourites. Keith

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John Ridgewell March 14, 2012 at 14:04

My daughter Anna (exec Chef) said to go to Lonoz blog to see this “killer” in action -Brill can’t wait to visit!

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Lady Henriette Elisabeth Augustyn Sandwyk(van)Gueldre March 14, 2012 at 14:19

I agree Keith…..great action shooting very rarely do we see this kind of photography….

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James Tyrrell March 14, 2012 at 15:57

World class Adam! Some great framing there, particularly the opening sequence. Good work bud!

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Rachel Thornton October 29, 2012 at 13:11

Brilliant and reminds me of what we saw in 2009 when the female was actually pushed out the tree by her very aggressive cubs when we she was trying to feed on impala!

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Wendy Hawkins April 17, 2014 at 20:14

Wow what fantastic video shots. He’s a greedy sod & needs to catch his own food. Thanks Adam for these wonderful pictures, from two years ago!

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