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Leopard eats cub

Leopard eats cub

We have had a packed camp for the last 4 days but fortunately things are quieter now. As usual at this time of year the heat is driving us all a little crazy. Even the wildlife seems to be affected……

We came across this female leopard at 9:30 yesterday morning. She was walking around in the blazing sun and looking nervous. We followed her for a few minutes until she jumped down into a ravine and then we saw why she was behaving strangely. Her cub was lying dead in the shallow ravine. The leopard approached it very slowly and gingerly sniffed it. She was very nervous, constantly looking over her shoulder. She then picked it up by the scruff of the neck and carried it off into some nearby bushes.

There were no signs of injury to the cub but the mother did have a gash on her nose. We can only guess at what happened. Perhaps it was killed by a different male to the one that sired the cub – a practice known as infanticide which forces the female to come back into oestrus and gives the male the opportunity to spread his own genes into the population. It may have been a lion or hyaena – although unlikely as I would imagine that if this had been the case then they would have devoured it.

It was very sad to watch the mother gently nuzzling the cub and licking it all-over. She did this for about five minutes and then began to eat it. Cannibalism is recorded in lions and leopards but it is rare and very strange to watch. Once she had partially devoured the cub she picked it up and moved further into the bushes and out of sight…….

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Content Copyright Patrick Bentley Photography

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