Leopard Loses Lunch as Unexpected Guests Arrive

Aug 17 2016

This leopard truly got the fright of her life as two lions quietly snuck up from behind her to share in the fresh impala catch

Senior Guide, Simon Vegter (40), from Wild Wings Safaris got to see this amazing story play itself out while on a tour in the Kruger National Park.






Simon spoke to Latest Sightings and said the following: “Seeing a kill is a very rare occurrence as one’s timing has to be absolutely perfect. I have been lucky enough to have seen several kills by different predators, but I’ve only had a handful of leopard kills. This one was by far the most exciting in terms of tactic and style that the female used. Having the interaction between the leopard and lions just made the sighting so much more dramatic and special.


(Have you spotted her yet?)


'We were just finishing off a morning drive and were on our way back to Skukuza camp for brunch. It has been a very successful morning already with a leopard sighting a bit earlier. When we came to De Laporte we saw this leopard on the other side of the waterhole. She moved deeper into the bushes as a herd of impalas approached to drink. The tension was there and the anticipation of a kill was tangible. The impalas came and went without the leopard making a move. However, the anticipation kept us there for almost an hour before the action happened.'



Simon continued: 'When a bachelor group of males started chasing each other around, I knew this was the distraction the leopard needed. She immediately bolted from her hiding place towards an impala still drinking at the waterhole. The sudden fright caused the impala to slip into the water. By then I knew the leopard had her prize, because it’s not easy for an impala to get out of the water. The leopard was on top of the impala in a flash and started to subdue it in spectacular fashion. I was surprised that the leopard did not fear the water at all and only had her meal in sight. This tactic is something she had perfected and used on a regular basis. I’ve seen her there before with a kill in a tree, but this time I was fortunate enough to have been there to witness the actual kill.



'By this time we were not yet aware of the nearby lions, but while the leopard was still suffocating the impala, they started to emerge from the riverbed. They must have been alerted to the kill by the noise of the hunt in the water. I knew this could have been a dangerous situation for the leopard, and when the lions crept right up to her without her noticing, I thought she was in serious trouble and this could easily have led to her death. The size difference between lions and leopards is very noticeable in this video. The chances of a leopard surviving a full-blown lion attack are very slim. Why the lions didn’t physically attack her was a bit puzzling, but it was clear from the video that the lions did not like the water and were even hesitant to enter to retrieve the kill. The fact that the leopard was in the water could have very well been her saving grace. Perhaps the lions didn’t recognise the wet object in the water as a leopard initially, until she moved at lightning speed. Her agility was another reason why she managed to escape. I was very relieved that she was unscathed, not just because she’s still alive, but also for the cubs that she currently has in the nearby rocks.'



To end the story off, Simon said that he lions managed to retrieve the kill from the water and quickly devoured it between the four of them. They remained near the waterhole for the rest of the day.




The leopard left the area very quickly and headed in the direction of her cubs. Luckily she managed to make another kill the following day without it being stolen.







Writteb by Wild Wings Safaris and Victoria Botha


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