With the amount of individual leopards that roam around it is not hard to form an emotional bond with these felines.
Sasekile (The beautiful one) recently went independent from her mother Thlangisa. She established a territory adjacent to her mother’s territory. Although I had heard how beautiful and how relaxed she is, it took me a long time before I finally got to see her.
The day finally came and my introduction to her was full of action. I found her stranded in a tree, surrounded by hungry hyenas that were fighting over her kill. Eventually the chaos subsided and she managed to evade the lurking hyenas.
She moved through long grass and eventually walked down a quiet road.
Having lost her kill to some skulking scavengers, she proceeded to climb a tree to ensure the coast was clear and to look for a potential meal.
The young leopard must have spotted something in the distance. She climbed down from the tree and hastily made her way down the road. I followed cautiously. I saw her pause and ahead of her stood some unsuspecting impala.
She quickly crouched down and leopard crawled to hide her presence. She inched closer and closer. I was in awe as I was sure she would make a kill. How lucky would I be to see her for the first time and with a successful hunt at that. I watched as she moved with calculated steps. She managed to approach really closely. Unfortunately a squirrel noticed her and started alarm calling. This alerted the impala and they immediately scattered to safety.
A week or two afterwards Sasekile walked along the Sand river, moving out of her territory. We got news that she was killed by a resident male leopard. I truly treasure the day I got to see her in all her beauty.