The Tamboti female had only recently revealed her cubs to MalaMala and it was very apparent she had a full-time job on her hands with the two little fur-balls. The extra energetic demands placed on a single mother predator at this stage are extensive, as she needs to feed herself and ensure her milk production is sufficient to feed her youngsters. Needless to say, it is at times like these when these predators proverbially ‘turn it on’ and their hunting skills come to the fore for only a fortunate few to witness. The mother leopard had left her young ones earlier that afternoon, and melted away into some thick bush during an unusually hot time of the day. Rangers were not surprised however when she appeared on her usual hunting ground that evening, after having disappeared for a few hours. Initially running in on a herd of impala in the dark night, chaos ensued and the impala fled in all directions.
Sitting without making a sound, the vibration of scattering footfalls as the impala’s hooves slammed the ground all around us. Then the brief cry of death in the night. Swooping in, the mother had been successful.
Little did we know what we were in for after that however, as one of Africa’s most successful other large predators came in to rob her of her hard-earned loot. No doubt she went on into the night to hopefully hunt successfully again to satisfy that appetite of hers.
Ranger – MalaMala Game Reserve