A herd of about 30 impala were drinking at Taylor’s Dam; it had been a hot day and they needed to quench their thirst. They had braved the crocodiles and had moved towards the watering hole. The female leopard acts quickly and silently. From our vantage point on the vehicle we could see her plan…she used the long grass as cover and was aiming to chase the herd down the dam wall towards the water…they would be trapped. Her body lowered, belly nearly dragging on the ground. She moved like lightning. We hardly dared to breathe!
The impala saw her late but did incredibly well. I could not believe how the impala reacted and managed to evade the predator.The agility was unreal! At her age the Vomba Female has years of experience but even her quick decisive decision making and silent ghost like moves could not bring one of the impala to it’s knees.
Only after flipping through my pictures and watching the incredible video, filmed by Rich, did I really realise how truly amazing impala are. The fact that that young male impala managed to see the leopard at about 1,5 meters and still get out alive is miraculous. I am filled with admiration for these beautiful creatures.
The brutality of nature was still yet to truly unfold. The Vomba Female had just missed her target, expending massive amounts of energy in the process. She headed for the shade and sank down into the grass. Her breathing was heavy. You could see she was extremely tired! We stuck with her and were rewarded. Fifteen minutes later and she stood up; moving off towards another thicket. Like a jack-in-the-box she was off careering into the bushes. Squeals of pain followed. She had literally stumbled into a sleeping baby nyala and had no qualms in executing the kill. We all watched on as the nyala fought for its life; a hopeless struggle but a brave one.
Written and photographed by: Adam Bannister
Filmed by Rich Laburn
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