It was the perfect sighting! We managed to track down a female leopard who had successfully killed an impala, dragging it over a hundred meters into the nearby riverbed. Mid track, Solly pointed out that the female tracks had now been replaced by those of a male. A male must have stolen it from her. We found the culprit. The Tugwaan Male a.k.a Shorty was still dragging the carcass when we came up behind him. Running back to the car we raced ahead, just in time to watch him perfectly hoist his stolen kill. Exhausted from the climb he fed briefly and then fell asleep on his prize!
Whilst in the middle of feeding, he was attacked by his greatest foe…the legendary Camp Pan Male. In split seconds Camp Pan had scaled up the tree and in a brutal assault leapt towards Shorty. Unlike the Maxabeni female, the Tugwaan male was prepared to defend his stolen carcass. The two huge male leopards came to blows in the branches of the Jackal Berry. The branches could not take their combined weight and out they fell.
They hit the ground still tangled in each others claws. The sound was horrific. In a flash the two arch enemies just tore into each other cartwheeling across the ground. The action was so close to me that I struggled to film the action with the lens I had on; in addition to this I must admit that all the action had me shaking somewhat! I also had my visiting mother diving for the floor beds of the vehicle in fright. It was chaos. It was incredible to watch! Without doubt one of the most awesome leopard sightings I have had to date.
Camp Pan won this battle and was left feeding on the now 3rd hand carcass in the tree. The mighty Tugwaan Male was left fuming. He growled and snarled, circling the tree. Death stares exchanged from both sides. The incredible audio experience continued for over 30 minutes as they embarked on an incredible verbal battle. Camp Pan would leave with a full belly, Shorty on the other hand, had to be satisfied scent marking every square inch of ground underneath the tree.
Written, photographed by Adam Bannister
Filmed by Adam Bannister and Jason Grimsley