You Won't Believe What this Leopard Does With This Impala Calf

Dec 16 2015
A rare sighting of a leopard and an impala lamb taken near andBeyond's Kirkman's Kamp in the Greater Kruger Park area by Patti Legg, is this week’s video in the Latest Sightings Film & Earn Program. Latest Sightings is the world’s largest wildlife crowdsourcing site app (iPhone & iPad app / Android app) and has revolutionised real-time game viewing for people on safari.
On a recent holiday to the Sabi Sands Reserve, bordering on the Kruger National Park, Patti exclaims, “At about 09h30, we were privileged to have witnessed an incredible encounter between a female leopard and a newly born impala.” It was their tracker who first spotted the leopard on the move! Whilst turning their vehicle around, there was a blur of movement! And suddenly, the leopard took chase of a herd of impala.
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Generally impala are alert and will warn the herd to the presence of predators. They become motionless on sensing danger, rotate their ears to catch sounds, and scan the vicinity. If danger is eminent they snort an alarm, and the herd will scatter. T
his behaviour lets the predators know that they have lost the advantage of surprise, with very few attacks then being attempted. 
Patti continues, “By the time we arrived at the clearing, we saw a panting leopard and a bewildered lamb. The mom evidently having escaped and leaving behind her now born baby.” Initially, Patti wanted the lamb to escape! But as it unfolded, she realised that this was the natural process of life and death in the bush. And that we have no business intervening and messing about with nature. However, she never expected what was to unravel..
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For the next half hour they pursued the leopard who half-heartedly stalked and pounced upon this baby. Patti says, “This continued and each time the lamb would bleat back to the leopard, until amicably, together they shared a patch of shade in the day’s sweltering heat”.

Unfortunately the party reluctantly had to leave, but as they drove away Patti says, “The leopard was nudging and licking the lamb!”

There has been other incidents reported in Africa where the famous lioness in Tsavo adopted an oryx, and Legadema the leopardess at Mombo cared for a baby baboon. We cannot be sure this too is the case, as Patti explains their ranger has witnessed another similar sighting between a leopard and baby warthog. But their ranger suspected that the female leopard was trying to lure out her young sub-adult cubs to the scene, to teach them how to hunt an easy prey.
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Patti’s final words are, “As we watched, I hoped that the lamb’s death would be swift and merciful. Rather than prolonged and painful, due to dehydration and starvation by being left all alone.” 
Written by Tracy Burrows
Images / Video Clip / Commentary by Patti Legg
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