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.
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