Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day Twelve: August 21: Mala Mala Day Two:

Day Twelve: August 21: Mala Mala Day Two:
This morning Peter; our ranger spent about 90 minutes looking for leopard tracks, then when we least expected it we saw one about 15 feet away from the road. The light was great and Peter positioned the land rover so we would have a good angle to take pictures. This leopard had been attacked by a lion and had a huge 16 or 18” gash on her leg.

Unfortunately for us, the ground where we parked was a little swampy and we got stuck. While waiting for "Triple A" (another ranger) to tow us out, he noticed a bush buck dead in the tree directly above us... Not the most convenient place to get stuck, but "Triple A" did arrive within 15 minutes to tow us out.

This leopard was walking pretty gingerly, so I can’t imagine how she caught the antelope and ran it up the tree while in that kid of discomfort, but she seems to be managing. After being towed out we left this leopard alone and found another one within about ten minutes and stayed with her for the rest of the morning. At one point the leopard was heading toward a herd of impala and stalking them so it was pretty exciting for about an hour waiting and watching to see what she would do next. She started out by rolling around in the grass to cover her scent, then stalked toward the herd, hiding behind bushes and trees. Then something spooked the herd and they took off and the hunt was over before it even really started.

After lunch we went back to see the leopard with the bush buck in the tree and waited for her to jump up the tree to eat the rest of it. We were hoping to get a nice shot of her walking across one of the branches to get to her meal. Unfortunately the nice light had mostly passed by the time she went up, so although we got some pictures of her, they weren't as nice as we had hoped. Not to mention that when she got up to her kill she started by eating the brains of the antelope. It sounds gross, but was truly amazing how easily her jaws punctured right through the animals skull. It would likely be the equivalent of us eating a granola bar. Mmm, right before our supper time.

I am behind in writing updating my blogs, but day three at Mala Mala was my favourite day of the trip and one of my favourite days on safari in all the years that I have been photographing animals. Hopefully I will be able to post that one tonight or tomorrow sometime.

My leopard images can be found on my wildlife photography website. You can even get a sneak peek of the leopard cub that we saw the day after this post was initially published.

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