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African Leopards

Argentina Tshokwane Offline
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From Wilderness Safaris, The Silent Drive:
Like most game drives it started off jovially; jokes and laughter about who would be the first to spot the seven five-month old lion cubs that had been seen by some guests on their morning activity at Mombo Camp. We arrived at their last known location at roughly 4 pm, but this time there was nothing to be found. Just as we started checking for signs of tracks, I noticed movement off to my left. A large cat, with sunlight dappling its fur, walked towards us carrying a cub in its mouth. As it walked into the bright afternoon sun we all froze in fear due to the scene unfolding in front of our eyes. This large cat was, in fact, a well-known male leopard called Blue Eyes, who had been spotted many kilometres from here that very morning.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Coincidentally, Yompy, our guide had just told us of an encounter he once had of two lion cubs stashed in a tree by a leopard in the Linyanti; and now a similar situation was playing out right in front of us. All the guests became silent, as they knew they were witnessing a rare, raw and unforgiving event. The leopard dropped the limp cub only metres from our vehicle and started licking the fur; perhaps a sign of affection, or getting ready for its next meal…!

*This image is copyright of its original author

The leopard then lay down close to his victim; still out of breath from the cat and mouse (or rather cat and cat) game he had obviously just initiated. Until now nobody had said a single word, and I knew we were all thinking the same thing… What had happened to the six remaining cubs? Were they lying dead in the bushes, or had they escaped the blade-like claws of this massive cat?

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

Eventually the leopard stood up and starting walking intently through the scattered acacia; leaving his prey unattended. We hoped he was walking away from the original scene and thus any other surviving cubs, so we followed in suspense. However, only a few hundred metres away he led us to another of his victims. He immediately started devouring it from the rump, the noises of his chewing echoing in our ears as he crunched through the soft juvenile bones. By now other vehicles had joined us and at a glance I could see many a tear rolling from our guests’ eyes – especially those that had seen the seven cubs at play that very morning.


This was a sad and silent moment, even though we all knew it was nature’s way.

We left with heavy hearts as the distant call of the mother lion came closer while Blue Eyes looked as though he intended to stand his ground in a thicket close to the half-eaten lion cub.
Only the morning would tell if revenge would be taken under the cover of darkness; and it was a long night pondering the fate of the five remaining lion cubs.

*This image is copyright of its original author


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*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

On Friday morning we arrived on the scene, to find the first lion cub stashed in a tree and its mother calling softly. Her eyes, and ours, focused upwards on a half-eaten cub hanging in the fork of a tree. Only then did we notice the large spotted cat looking down upon us all from the safety of the large jackalberry.

The large lioness took a last sniff of her dead cub’s fur lying on the ground below its limp body then silently slipped away into the woodland…

Written and Photographed by Deon de Villiers.
‘Like night-watchmen they patrol the dark nights; marching with intent and chasing all those unwanted into the shadows…those that do not run are removed’
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United States Polar Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-07-2016, 08:15 AM by Polar )

First time I have ever heard of one cat species consuming another cat species.
"Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people."

- Roy T. Bennett
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United States Pckts Offline
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(06-07-2016, 08:15 AM)Polar Wrote: First time I have ever heard of one cat species consuming another cat species.

Many cats do this, in fact, you can find canabolization of certain big cats with in the species.
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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United States Polar Offline
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Do you have any well-documented records of big cat cannibalism?
"Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people."

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United States Pckts Offline
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(06-07-2016, 08:49 AM)Polar Wrote: Do you have any well-documented records of big cat cannibalism?

Sure, I'll find some tomorrow. You can look up some lions doing it while infanticide is occurring, I've even seen a mother canabolize her own cub after it was killed by a male.
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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India sanjay Offline
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Awesome share @Majingilane
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United States Pckts Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-07-2016, 10:10 PM by Pckts )

(06-07-2016, 08:54 AM)Pckts Wrote:
(06-07-2016, 08:49 AM)Polar Wrote: Do you have any well-documented records of big cat cannibalism?

Sure, I'll find some tomorrow. You can look up some lions doing it while infanticide is occurring, I've even seen a mother canabolize her own cub after it was killed by a male.

Here's a few...



Tigress eats her cub
http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Rare-Su...Zoo-386052


The shocking moment a lion rips apart and EATS a helpless cub: Cannibal cat asserts its dominance on his pride in brutal fashion
  • Male lion spotted  eating a cub at the Tarangire National Park in Tanzania
  • It's common for lions to kill and eat cubs when they take over a new pride
  • The female seen sitting with him is likely a relative or even the cub's mother
  • Mothers commonly join in eating their own cubs when they find the carcases 
By James Dunn For Mailonline
Published: 05:08 EST, 14 September 2015 | Updated: 19:36 EST, 14 September 2015

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3233758/The-shocking-moment-lion-rips-apart-EATS-helpless-cub-Cannibal-cat-asserts-dominance-pride-brutal-fashion-lioness-looks-doing-nothing.html#ixzz4AubebpwE



Lioness eating her own cub






Tigress eats leopard






Cases of leopards eating cheetah
http://safaritalk.net/topic/13577-cases-...g-cheetah/


*This image is copyright of its original author


Leopard and caracal

*This image is copyright of its original author

http://www.earthtouchnews.com/natural-wo...maller-cat


Caracal eating wild cat

*This image is copyright of its original author



You can find many more as well...
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
-Oscar Wilde
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Italy Ngala Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-23-2016, 07:17 PM by Ngala )

From Elzuwini Game Lodge, Two Leopards and Only One Steenbok at Ezulwini:

"When there is more than enough to go around, there is no reason to poach another predator’s prey, right? Well, not entirely. These two leopards were only doing what’s natural when we caught them in the act at Ezulwini Billy’s Lodge recently. One leopardess we know as Van Wijk’s female was chasing another leopardess called Manana who had just landed herself a steenbok kill! Leopards are solitary animals, and they compete with one another for territory and prey, so Van Wijk’s saw the opportunity to get an easy meal by intimidating a rival leopard and stealing her kill."

*This image is copyright of its original author


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"Ezulwini guests had set out on game drive, and after admiring a gregarious group of giraffe and zebra, and a couple of bold baby elephants, the radio called in the sighting of Manana with a steenbok kill. Immediately, excitement filled the air, as the elusive leopard is right at the top of everybody’s safari sightings list! Josh drove his guests to the sighting, as soon enough, he clapped eyes on a second leopard sneaking around in the shadows."

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"No one could have banked on this lucky sighting, but in the Balule, which is a privately reserve open to Kruger, anything is possible. The second female was soon identified as Van Wijk’s female, which is a regularly seen territorial leopardess. She had picked up on Manana’s scent and was hot on her trail. The cameras came out and guests snapped away as this very lucky sighting unfolded in front of their eyes."

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

"Manana stayed hidden, and as soon as she made a break for it, carrying the steenbok in her jaws, Van Wijk’s female trotted closely behind her. It was fantastic to watch both leopards in the same frame – both desperate to eat, but only one fully deserving of the meal. Manana won out in the end, and settled to feed on most of her kill before deserting the remains of the carcass. Van Wijk’s female gave up the chase and soon slinked off into the thicket, but hopefully we will catch up with her soon!"

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"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Italy Ngala Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-09-2016, 07:06 PM by Ngala )

From nThambo Tree Camp, nThambo’s Camera Trap Secrets: Leopard with Cubs
A rustling was heard in the shrubbery and a flash of mottled tawny seemed to dart between the bushes. The game viewer stopped and its occupants listened acutely. Lo and behold, an elegant leopardess was spotted together with her cubs. The bush was thick and green, but the unmistakeable dark rosettes on her coat “shone bright light a diamond” making it possible to gain visibility. Recently, the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve has been a hotspot for leopard sightings! We managed to take a few photos AND get a sneaky bit of camera trap footage. Bjorn’s camera trap footage shows two leopards in the frame – although a bit shaky and dark; you just don’t get anymore raw and real than this!

*This image is copyright of its original author




The sighting was fleeting and some rangers claim there are three cubs, others speculate two but we can confirm one for certain! This slender, lithe leopard we’re currently listing as unknown. More information is being gathered but we do know that she is on the periphery of Ross Dam female’s turf – is it her? Unfortunately, the sightings haven’t been long enough for us to completely ID her, but the Africa on Foot and nThambo Tree Camp team are on the lookout. Luckily, Em Gatland was on the scene to photograph a few daylight sightings of this exceptional leopardess.

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


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What do we know about female leopards and their behaviour? The more we understand them, the more we can accurately predict their next move. Although this is never a given, we can base everything on past behaviour and observation.

Here’s what we do know about female leopards:
  • They are excellent mothers and will stash their cubs in shrubbery, caves or somewhere secretive. The cubs actually remain hidden until they’re about 10 months old. If there’s imminent danger in the area, the mother will move them to another area for safekeeping. Is this what was happening with the leopardess in the photos?
  • When the cubs become older they will accompany their mother’s on a hunt. Here’s where they learn the skills and tactics necessary to stalk and ambush their unsuspecting prey.
  • Mother and cub/s will inhabit the same territory even up until the cub is 18 months. As the cub becomes a sub-adult, it will hover on the outskirts of its mother’s territory, hunting and fending for itself. Once old enough it will leave in search of its own territory. This often why you see young lone leopards traversing a wide range and getting into trouble with “locals”.
  • So why are the cubs stashed for such a long period of time? A leopardess has such a short gestation period (90 – 105 days) because she cannot afford not to hunt. Being heavily pregnant means carrying extra weight and leopards aren’t exactly famous for having family support! The cubs are rendered helpless when born and continue to grow for 6 weeks in a safe area.
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Italy Ngala Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-09-2016, 07:12 PM by Ngala )

From Sun Destinations Blog, Week in Pictures: A Calendar of Kruger Leopards
A super predator, a master stalker with acute senses and finely tuned ambushing skills. Welcome to the world of leopards, an aloof and mysterious place where only the strongest of cats survive. Leopards can be found hiding out in drainage lines, watching the world from the safety of termite mounds and trees, or patrolling their newly acquire territories. These slender cats aren’t quite as sedentary as lions, which makes them very tricky to spot. This week, it’s time to celebrate their presence. Considering we’ve had an abundance of sightings during the week across all the reserves, they deserve a bit of air-time.

Each reserve has their dominant cats with unique markings and personalities. Here is our ode to the leopards of Kruger.

Ezulwini Billy’s Lodge and Ezulwini River Lodge
Chavaluthu, the Balule’s blue-eyed boy, is often seen while out on evening game drives. His reflective blue-green eyes make him one of the Balule’s most recognizable leopards. The Van Wijk’s leopardess, with her sleek body and nonchalent attitude, is another big cat who is making her presence known. Over the past couple of week’s guests had an incredible sighting of the Van Wijk’s leopardess attemping to steal lesser-spotted Manana’s impala kill. The stakes are high when it comes to competing for prey and territory with this species.

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nThambo Tree Camp and Africa on Foot
The leopard sightings in the Klaserie are on the increase and firm favourite, leopardess Cleo, has been spotted on a regular basis. She’s unfazed by the presence of vehicles and always remains firm in the limelight.
A couple of days ago an unknown leopardess was spotted with cubs. Seemingly shy and rather coy, she didn’t spend too long hanging around. She is obviously still very protective over her young cubs. They appeared to be on the periphery of Ross Dam’s turf, which makes things interesting – unless it is Ross Dam.
This morning, the Marula female was spotted while out on the daily morning game drive – a great sighting just in time for week in pictures. Other leopards we see are Ross Dam, Zero and White Rock.

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"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Argentina Tshokwane Offline
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Pondoro Game Lodge:
The big male Chavaluthu on the 14th of July. One can only imagine the fierce fight he had with some unknown enemy when looking at the huge ugly scars on his face. I believe it was most probably inflicted by the tusks of a warthog while fighting for his life. It looks ugly, but is already on the mend. I have seen him with similar wounds about 2 years ago and it healed without leaving any visible marks. He might not be so lucky this time round. He was hot on the trail of a female when I took the photo, but we never saw her. His new looks might have got something to do with that.

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‘Like night-watchmen they patrol the dark nights; marching with intent and chasing all those unwanted into the shadows…those that do not run are removed’
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Italy Ngala Offline
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From Makanyi Lodge:
"This majestic male leopard is known as Nick and he's just one of many resident leopards that call Timbavati Home."

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"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Italy Ngala Offline
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Beautiful leopard from Uganda. His head it's look likes a jaguar. Credits to Rob Andriessen.

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"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Argentina Tshokwane Offline
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Ranger Diaries:
Beauty is rare, elusive and dangerous. Rare in that it seldom exists in a complete, unpolluted form. Elusive in that, as according to James Thurber, "Beautiful things don't ask for attention". Dangerous, given its addictive powers; for once one witnesses the true beauty of the natural world, the desire to return to the wild only burns more and more with the passing of each pure, beautiful experience.

Photograph by Cameron Appel.

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‘Like night-watchmen they patrol the dark nights; marching with intent and chasing all those unwanted into the shadows…those that do not run are removed’
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Italy Ngala Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-27-2016, 05:27 PM by Ngala )

From Londolozi Game Reserve: The Black Panther by Werner Breedt
"In this wonderful world we live in there are literally thousands of families and species of animals. The family of animal that attracts and captivates probably more people than any other are the Felidae, the cats, more specifically the big cats. These enthralling creatures with their perfectly designed camouflaged coats, out-of-this-world strength and fleet footedness lure more people back to Londolozi than any others. Leopards and lions roam the hilly crests and pristine riverfront, and with a bit of luck, a visit to Londolozi could give you the opportunity to view one of these remarkable creatures in their natural environment.
There is however another cat out there whose name conjures up thoughts of mystery and intrigue. This animal was first introduced to many by the famous The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. Bagheera – the Black Panther…"

A so-called black panther. Photograph courtesy of Alphacoders.com

*This image is copyright of its original author

"The allure of seeing this animal is so tantalising that I cannot tell you how many times I have been asked if there is a possibility of seeing a black panther on safari. Reports of these animals have been around for a long time. The amazon, various African countries, rural areas in Australia’s New South Wales and Victoria provinces and the foothills of England being some of the areas where sightings are frequently documented. The sightings in Australia and England might be hard to explain but one has to remember that at one stage you could legally purchase a lion or tiger at Harrods (a department store in London), and it is suspected that one or two escapees from private collections may be roaming the countryside. Areas where we know for a fact they do occur include the rainforests of Malaya, Mount Kenya, Myanmar and Java."

An incredibly special photo of a black leopard (female) and a male normal coloured male behind her. This photo was taken in the Nilgiris, a mountainous area in India, although the exact location is being kept a secret for fear of hordes of photographers descending on an environmentally sensitive area. Photograph by R.Prakash.

*This image is copyright of its original author

"To clear up some controversy and confusion, let’s start with the name, the black panther. The black panther is merely a colloquial name given to a melanistic colour variation of a leopard or jaguar, and is derived from the genus name, Panthera. Black panthers in Asia and Africa are black leopards and black panthers in the Americas are black jaguars. Melanism (a Greek word meaning black pigment) is an over development of the dark-coloured pigment melanin in the skin or its appendages and is the opposite of albinism. Close inspection of these cats will show that the spots and rosettes are still present but much harder to see due to the darker colour of the coat.
What is absolutely astounding is how these cats actually survive in the wild. If you have been fortunate enough to witness a leopard stalking through bushes using its faultless camouflage you will know how perfectly adapted they are. Black panthers on the other hand can only utilize their camouflage at certain times of the day and believe it or not it isn’t in the dark. In the dark the black colour creates a silhouette which makes the animal stand out like a sore thumb. Learning to hunt for a melanistic leopard or jaguar would quite possibly result in different techniques being developed to those of their normal coloured relatives. Survival would not doubt be a result of a lot of trial and error, and would certainly not be possible in many areas in which the recessive melanistic gene occurs. Savanna habitats are poor areas for melanistic cats to live, as the lack of plentiful deep shadows necessarily limit their camouflage. and although there are records of black leopards being sighted in the Kruger Park, the individuals born black would almost certainly not survive long enough to reproduce.
In certain environments where darkness can be an advantage, whether for camouflage purposes or temperature regulation, one finds a much higher incidence of melanism, as melanistic individuals survive and reproduce, thus passing on the gene.
The Aberdares National Park in Kenya is one of the best places to see black leopards in Africa. Some areas in Asia actually have higher numbers of black leopards than normal coloured ones!"


The Aberdares mountain range in East Africa is a place where sightings of melanistic leopards are not uncommon. Photograph by H. Fiebig.

*This image is copyright of its original author

"These enigmatic cats emanate a certain aura which attracts us to them. Not unlike the Loch Ness monster of the Scottish Highlands. Maybe it is because we have the desire of seeing something so rare, a yearning for something extraordinary.
Or maybe we can associate with Bagheera; we want to help something in need. In Bagheera’s case, young Mowgli, the ill-fated child left in the jungle, in our case a species of animal with such magnetic appeal that we cannot but feel an obligation to enhance their existence in some way or the other…"
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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