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  • Date: October 7, 2018

Leopard life in the lens

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During a safari in Africa, probably one of the most interesting and desirable objects to observe is predators. Especially big cats. Elephants, giraffes, impalas and zebras come across quite often. But lions and leopards are much smaller and, often, it is much more difficult to find them. The same applies to cheetahs.
Leopard life in the lens

When I was in Africa for the first time on a safari, I did not manage to see the leopard close enough. We met this predator only once, during the morning trip. The beast was just returning from a successful hunt for an impala and was very busy with the problem of hiding the prey as quickly as possible. Leopard has many competitors. Lions and hyenas are able to easily take away his legally minted antelope. Therefore, he tried as quickly as possible to drag the carcass to the tree. There you can sit out in relative safety and leisurely lunch.
I don’t even know why, but somehow this situation upset me very much. Even the fact that we did not see the big five as a result, grieved less. With the big five, everything was clear.Rhino in Chobe we can not see. He was the only one there, and even then under the protection of the Botswana army. Well, that is, it was like a unicorn. A certain mythical beast that you can hardly see. But with the leopard ... With the leopard it was a shame that we literally did not have time for a couple of minutes. The beast crossed the road and disappeared into the bush. And it was my most successful photo. In short, I really wanted to really see these animals again.
Leopard life in the lens

And this desire was destined to come true during our last trip to Africa. The first time we saw leopards in Lignanti. Here they did not have to look. Our ranger just talked to the locals and they said that the family is sitting on a tree and will be there for at least 3 more days.
We drove up and saw mommy. She rested lying on a branch:
Leopard life in the lens

Our arrival only slightly disturbed her. She paid no particular attention to us. In general, she didn’t seem to care much about this place. Half an impala carcass lay right under the tree. She didn’t try to drag her upstairs.
Leopard life in the lens

A little higher on the branches we saw a young kitten:
Leopard life in the lens

I must say that finding a leopard in the bush is not an easy task. It is hardly possible to just walk among the trees and hitting the head by the hanging tail at the top of the leopard.Despite the seemingly bright colors of the skin, these predators perfectly merge with the surrounding landscape.
Leopard life in the lens

See for yourself. Find two leopards in this tree. That’s how the rangers are looking for wild animals in the bush. This is really the same tree. But even if you maximize this image, it’s still hard to find leopards. And so ... your assumptions?
Leopard life in the lens

I noted on the tree exactly where the cats are sitting. The big circle is the mother and the small one on top is the kitten:
Leopard life in the lens

And while mother rested lying on a comfortable branch ...
Leopard life in the lens

The kid happily tormented some rooster:
Leopard life in the lens

He enjoyed this activity very much. As we explained, with the help of this mom teach children to hunt. Often the female specifically catches and slightly strangles the game, which then gives the offspring. He catches and plays with her, and at the same time acquires the necessary skills in the hunt.
Leopard life in the lens

Having finished with the meal, the kid went downstairs.
Leopard life in the lens

Mom was not very pleased with such shameless intrusion, and she decided to get down on the ground and take a short walk:
Leopard life in the lens

This is of course a little puzzled kitten. He was sure that it was better than to lie down next to him and think of nothing.
Leopard life in the lens

Mom did not agree with this view:
Leopard life in the lens

Later in the evening we returned to the same place again. Leopards continued to rest on the tree. True the size of the antelope carcass has decreased somewhat.
Leopard life in the lens

This time the kid was not on a tree, but was walking below:
Leopard life in the lens

After lying for a while under the tree, he went for a walk through the surrounding bushes:
Leopard life in the lens

This worried Mom a bit, but apparently he had grown up enough so that she seriously began to worry about his safety.
Leopard life in the lens

The second time we met a leopard in the area of ​​the River Kwai. It was unusual. We just drove along the road, when suddenly stopped. Richard, our ranger, passed back to the tree near which we passed a moment ago. Turning to the side, he showed a finger and said: "Leopard." That's just at this moment we really saw the beast. It was very unexpected. We absolutely did not notice him when we passed.
Leopard life in the lens

Apparently, he was just looking at the production:
Leopard life in the lens

He lay in the shadows for a short time and after a couple of minutes went to the bush.
Leopard life in the lens

See for yourself that the beast is pretty skinny. A sure sign that he ate last a long time:
Leopard life in the lens

Leopard went right up to the car. We absolutely did not care. The predator was busy with his business:
Leopard life in the lens

We drove after him for a while over the bush:
Leopard life in the lens

The fact is that in the first place in this area it is allowed to drive off the roads, and besides us there were several other cars with tourists here. When one of the Rangers finds something interesting, he is on the radio informing other crews what he has found and where he is located approximately.
Leopard life in the lens

Other cars come to this place and we followed the beast for some time so that they could see us from the road as a landmark.
Leopard life in the lens

Last time in Botswana we saw a leopard already in the Okovango delta.
Leopard life in the lens

The location of this kitten was reported to us immediately as we arrived there. This young leopard was sitting alone in a tree:
Leopard life in the lens

He was sitting for the third day, was very skinny and obviously wanted to eat. Mother went hunting, but apparently something prevented her from returning to the kitten with the prey. And though it is large enough to eat meat, it is still not able to hunt on its own. Therefore, sitting among the branches hoping for the return of the mother.
Leopard life in the lens

The last time we saw a leopard trip was in the Kruger Park.
Leopard life in the lens

It was already dark and to remove this cat I had to highlight her with a lantern.
Leopard life in the lens

She also had a kitten, but quite a crumb. He was hiding next to the bushes at that moment.He was surrounded by lions and hyenas, and for the sake of safety, he could not appear outside his shelter. True, we were lucky, and for a moment we saw his face in the beam of a lantern. The kitten was really quite small. Fluffy and with a round muzzle. Unfortunately, it was so short in time that no one had time to take a picture of him before he frightened the light into the bushes.
That's how my dream came true to meet a leopard.

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