Leopard Cub in Vines

Leopard cub in tree surrounded by vines

Not all wildlife photos have an interesting story behind them, but when nature stories unfold before you it is an amazing experience.  I remember watching Wild Kingdom as a child and more recently National Geographic or BBC documentaries.  However, nothing can compare to multi-sensory experiencing of being there.

This photo represents the story of a male leopard cub. The mother had hunted earlier that day and the partially eaten carcass was in a tree - yes you could smell it. Below that tree the female cub was eating one of the legs.  The male cub had been exploring but it was getting dark and he returned to the tree.  However the female would not let him approach the tree fiercely growling and hissing to keep him away.  Our guide indicated that this is normal and that when one of the cubs feeds even the mom cannot get close.

We started to hear hyenas off in the distance.  They are nocturnal and although they can hunt, in Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia their favorite food source is to steal a leopard’s kill. We were concerned they might catch the scent of the carcass with both cubs on the ground.  This male cub knew how to take care of himself and he found a tree about 20 feet away to climb.  He was safely tucked away in the vines wrapping the tree.  Meanwhile the female was still feeding on the ground.  The hyenas did get the sent and came in.  One rushed in to grab the leg.  Right before he got there the female climbed the tree.  You could feel the hyena’s excitement as he made off with the leg.

If you would like to see more images from our trip you can visit our gallery:

Zambia Gallery


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