A Leopard ‘Love Triangle’ …

Ben Reports from Elephant Plains on the Tusk Sabi Sand Photo Tour:

What a busy final game drive we enjoyed this morning. First, we wanted to find the mating leopards to see if there were any developments there. And wow! Were there ever!

We arrived to find the female running away from the male and as we watched another female leopard arrived on the scene. The new arrival had chased her rival away and then tried to get the male to develop an interest in her. She really tried to be amorous but he consistently gave her the brush-off. He was far more interested in the female that got away and, ignoring the intruder, he went in search of the original female.

The male leopard walked along, checking through open areas and bushy terrain as he searched for the object of his desire. He searched, climbed termite mounds, and checked everywhere while the rebuffed female followed, keeping a close watch on his every move.

Eventually the male heard a sound and set off in that direction. It was the female calling and we also heard the sound clearly. The male headed directly to her and they were united, and carried on their mating rituals. After watching for just a moment the second female turned away and slunk out of the area.

We heard that Wild Dogs were not far from us, and having watched the reunion between the leopards we moved to the dogs. We found five adults and four youngsters. They had killed a duiker shortly before we arrived, and by the time we reached them there was very little left of the kill. The dogs played and ran around. They chased one another and each time one managed to snag a scrap of the kill, a chase would begin afresh as the others all went in pursuit. It was great fun to watch and to photograph, and proved to be a perfect end to another very successful and eventful safari here at Elephant Plains.

Now, we all look forward to our return …