It has often been said that there are no points for style in the bush. I however believe that this is merely an excuse that us humans use for not being able to compete with the myriad of fashionable, unique and elegantly styled animals that roam throughout Londolozi Game Reserve.
Two of the most stylish cats (no pun intended) are by far the 3:2 and 3:3 Maxabeni Brother Leopards. Not only do they carry themselves with an slight swagger, groove and arrogance, but they seem to make everyday of their lives somewhat of an exhibition.
Brett Wallington had been watching them stalk impala all afternoon. Aware and alert, the suspicious herbivores had outwitted the big cats with effortless ease. It was only when the two brothers started to evolve their tactics of hunting their true style became evident.
As they lay in wait, inching closer every so often, you could sense the pair wanting to unleash an attack. They wanted to show off with the flair, aggression and energy that was wound up in them. They wanted to put on an exhibition, but they needed to make sure that they would eat.
The first brother could wait no longer and sensing his chance, exploded forward into the sprawling mass of opportunity, sending the impala scattering. The pulsating muscles surged with adrenalin as he narrowed his sights on a single female, gripping the ground beneath him and ripping through the bushes past him.
A short way behind, the second brother purged himself of secrecy and too unleashed his counter assault on the confused, the meek and the disorientated.
These two brothers remind me of why I still believe there are no points for style in the bush. It is not because they blithely hunted, chased and killed an impala. It is because they once again demonstrate that only nature could make the tension of the stalk; the thrill of the chase and the pain in death seem so poetic, natural and stylish in a way which we would never imagine.
Filmed and Photographed by: Brett Wallington
Written by: Rich Laburn