Thursday, 26 July 2012

Remarkable Leopard kill on Game Drive

Finishing off the Waterbuck Calf, he isn't going to release
On Monday evening we had a remarkable game drive, when we found Diamonds son killing a Waterbuck Calf.  There are many safari guides who go for years without ever seeing a leopard make a kill, making this a very rare yet exciting sighting for our guests. It’s an event that brings home the harsh reality of the African bush, but is nonetheless a thrilling experience. During the drive we were tracking the fresh spoor of a young male leopard.Mike and I were off the vehicle checking the direction of his tracks when we heard a Waterbuck alarm call very close.We quickly headed to the spot just in time to see him finishing off a Waterbuck calf about ten meters away from the road. All the while, several other Waterbuck females stood by barking at the leopard, which undetered by the noise stuck to his task. Once he was sure the calf was dead he retreated from the mobbing Waterbuck, to find some nearby sanctuary. It is likely that an older, more confident leopard may well have stayed put and started to feed, but this young leopard is still a little unsure of himself and although anxious not to move too far from his prize opted to take refuge close by and lay up on the opposite bank as dusk fell. All the while, keeping an eye on his evening meal and us.

As the Waterbuck moved off and started grazing further down the valley (no longer concerned about the leopard) we also moved away to leave him in peace for a while. We did pass by the scene about half an hour later, only to find that he had dragged his prize off into some thick bushes, from where we could hear (if not see) him enjoying his meal.
At that point Kudu warning barks from the adjacent mountainside indicated that another leopard was in the area, so we headed off to inestgate that situation.
For our newly arrived OTS guests, on their first safari, it had been quite a day. Not only had they seen their first leopard, but also had experienced a very rare and amazing sighting. And all on their first full day in Africa.
Back at Black Leopard Camp, some very excited guests recounted the days events over dinner. As for me, well I was excited as they were about such an exceptional sighting. Not only the sighting but to know that diamonds son was now all grown up and operating without his mother help. Who knows where his future will lie, but for now he is developing well within the safety of the Thaba Tholo Wilderness Reserve.

Written by Will Fox
OTS Manager.

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