Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Marataba Safari Lodge...Leopard kill

Not quite a cruise on the Med...
but our short trip on Miss Mara was special.
Wonderful vistas as the sun set.
A great way to end of my birthday.
However, unbeknown to me, the best was yet to come...

My post birthday early morning game drive from Marataba Safari Lodge
 started with this Malachite Kingfisher...
I was happy to head back to camp as it was FREEZING cold.
And for me to admit that is quite something.
But you never know what lies around the next corner.

In this instance it was this young Eland calf,less than a day old.
 It was lying in the road in front of our vehicle 
somewhat uncertain of its surroundings.
Little did it know what was approaching from the reeds less than 5m away.

SUDDENLY...
Lightning, the female leopard exploded from in front of the calf.
It realised too late what danger it was in.

It reacted too late to escape, 
and Lightning was able to pounce without much effort.
In fact the "kill" was so easy, that she did not even have to stalk...
she virtually walked the last few meters and jumped...

Jumping onto the escaping calf,
she was headed for the back of the neck

And she reaches her objective...
The calf at this stage had not made a sound
and neither had the leopard.

It fought for a split second...

And then resigned itself to its fate...

Lighting by this time had adjusted her grip...

And bit down on the spinal column

It was sheer momentum that took both animals across the road.

Still a little fight left...
and it bleated once or twice

Still locked together...

One last attempt to escape?

And both victor and vanquished disappeared into the bushes.
A last cry and then SILENCE...
The leopard stood quietly to see if any other predators,
or perhaps the calf's mother might have been alerted...

Nothing came to the rescue...
or to rob Lightning of her prey...
How long did the interaction last...
2 SECONDS...
I could not believe it when I checked the time on my digital prints.
From alive to dead in two seconds...

This was the calf's final destination.
Food for the three cubs that Lightning is currently raising.
The circle was complete...
and peace reigned again.

As we left the kill site,
I spotted this Brown Hooded Kingfisher.
Aside from the earlier action,
the game drive was book-ended by unusual bird sightings.
I have been visiting the bush since 1966,
and in those 49 years I have only seen three kills,
all of which have been witnessed on MORE properties!

Photo

Photo

This posting is brought to you DESPITE
Eskom load-shedding...
Thank you to BP fuel and a home generator!


         

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