Wildlife photographer Peter Geraerdts from Track & Trail River Camp came across a female leopard in a sausage tree while on safari with a photographic client. They stopped to admire the leopard, without knowing what she was planning.
Near the end of winter – when grass has little nutritious value and the leaves are almost bare – antelope must find alternative sources of food, and the African sausage (Kigelia africana) tree is one of these sources… but experienced leopards know this as well.
Some leopards – like this clever lady – perch themselves on a branch high up in the sausage tree and wait patiently for antelope to come and feed.
“Once we realised her master plan – we stayed watching her for more than an hour, and witnessed an attempted barrage on two bushbuck grazing underneath, but she changed her mind. That is… until some impala came in for a nibble.
Surprisingly some of the antelope even looked up at the tree, scanning for danger – seemingly smelling a predator – but spotting nothing.
Then, dropping from the air about 12 or 13 metres off the ground with a mix of grace and ferocity, the cunning female grabbed a young male impala by the throat, and it was dead in mere seconds.
She then turned tail and swaggered off into the shrub, leaving us alone and dumbfounded.”
See the whole sequence here: