The thing I love the most about observing wildlife is that you never know what’s going to happen. This photo is from 2012 when we were self-driving in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia (trip report here).
One morning we came across a mother leopard with her youngster high up in a tree with their impala kill. They were sleeping and occasionally taking a bite off the kill – but nothing much was happening. We still stuck around with the sighting however – even after every other single car left. Suddenly a hyena showed up, sniffing the air and wistfully eyeing the leopards’ kill. After a few minutes the young leopard inexplicably started to descend from the safety of the tree, towards the hyena. We were incredulous! Why would it possibly do that? We had seen many documentaries indicating the extreme danger that hyenas pose for young cats. Clearly the young leopard had seen none of those though. We braced ourselves for the worst. I almost couldn’t bear to watch but I kept shooting anyway. To make things even more tense the leopard started hissing at the hyena – this is the exact moment pictured here. The young leopard then proceeded to jump to the ground and nonchalantly moved to sleep in the shade of a nearby tree. To our surprise, the hyena couldn’t give a toss as it was still fully focused on the impala meat dangling invitingly above, willing it to fall down. It took a few minutes before out heartbeats returned to normal!
Techs: Canon 550D | Canon 100-400L IS | f5.6 | 1/125s | ISO 200