Three ‘New’ Leopards with two Kills and a Lion Kill at Elephant Plains …

Hendri’s Bulletin from the Sabi Sand Photo Safari:

We heard that Wild Dogs had been sighted yesterday afternoon, so as soon as we were on our vehicles this morning we went off to find them. No luck there!

While searching for the dogs we heard that a young male leopard had been sighted with a kill in a tree. Moments before we arrived, however, the agile cat jumped down from the tree with his kill and started to carry the baby impala carcass across the veld. Eventually he found a large Jackalberry Tree that seemed to suit his purpose and he hoisted the remains up onto a thick, sturdy branch. He settled down close to the carcass and after making himself comfortable he dozed off.

We weren’t sure how long the leopard’s sleep would be, so we moved off, deciding rather to follow up on a report about lions in the vicinity. We found a large pride, all sprawled out and showing no inclination to move at all. Their bellies looked very full, and they were very content to simply lie there, fast asleep, during the warm daylight hours.

This afternoon we tried to find the dogs again, but again we had no luck there. We returned to the young male leopard with his kill in the tree and to our surprise he had moved again. The only sign we could see were tracks that we followed, but our search was interrupted by a call to inform us that a female leopard with a cub had been spotted. It was very close by so we dashed there to find the cub up in a tree with a kill. The cub alternately ate, and then moved the kill to a different branch, then ate again and then moved the remains again. It just didn’t seem to be comfortable with any of the positions and moved the kill after each nibble.

The mother watched from her position under the tree where she rested. Eventually the cub came down to join mom, and as the late afternoon golden light was superb our photos were most satisfying. The cub flopped down next to the mother and she greeted the little one with plenty of grooming, licking and nuzzling.

It was dark by now and we hoped that the lions would be up and about, so we paid them a quick visit, hoping that they would be stirring. They were close to where we left them in the morning and surprisingly they had a kill – a White-tailed Mongoose. The lions were not hungry and left the youngsters to play with the kill. They dragged the carcass around, pounced on it, stole it from each other, ran away tauntingly, and then surrendered it to the next cub. It was great fun to watch. We used spotlights to capture the fun action until it was almost past time to return to the Lodge.

Tomorrow is our final morning for this safari and our plan is to return to the boisterous young lions again …