Giraffic Park!? …

Brendon’s Daily Bulletin from Mombo in the Okavango Delta:

It was quite dull again this morning when we climbed onto our vehicles with the aim to first check up on the giraffe kill. When we arrived there were no lions anywhere … but there were plenty of hyenas and very little left of the kill. So at some stage during the night, the hyena clan must have arrived and as they outnumbered the lions they chased them away and took over their meal. We photographed the interactions between the clan members as they fed, leaving little more than the bones.

Eventually the hyenas left and Hooded Vultures, Lappet-faced Vultures, and White-backed Vultures and even White-headed took over. They also scrapped with each other as they vied over the bones and sparse remnants.

Finally, when the action calmed down we left to check up on the impala kill we saw yesterday in a tree. We hadn’t seen the leopard that put it there, and were hoping for more luck in that area. As we arrived we could see that the kill had been moved to a different branch in the tree and there were signs that the leopard had eaten quite a bit. We drove in concentric circles, but couldn’t see any sign of any cat.

We were about to leave the area when a young female leopard suddenly appeared from nowhere and walked toward the tree. She was very relaxed, and walked past us to hump into the tree where she fed for a while. Our cameras were ultra busy throughout the sighting. Eventually she came down from the tree and started to walk very purposefully almost in a beeline. We followed her to a another tree, and when she jumped up we noticed that she had a second impala kill there!

Obviously when we searched for her at the other tree, the young leopard had spent her time at this tree, with this kill! Just amazing! When she climbed into the tree she settled on a beautiful, open branch with clear visibility, and surrounded by dense, dark green, shiny foliage. She looked magnificent up there.

On the way back to the camp the guide told us that they have nicknamed this ‘Giraffic Park’ because of the plentiful giraffe, but also zebras, buffalo, elephants, wildebeest and other game that we see on every drive.

This afternoon everyone wanted to return to the leopard. We spent the whole afternoon with her. Four hours, during which she dozed, posed for us, stretched, came down from the tree to drink some water, and returned to the tree where she played around. She was great fun to watch as she chased leaves, pounced on twigs, and behaved like a really young cat. The entertainment was fabulous, and our photographs likewise.

In the morning, I feel sure that everyone will want to check on the young leopard again …