38 year old, Johann Jurgens, Director of a South African tour company (SouthAfricanBookings.com), was touring around Pretoriuskop and was near to Klipspringer Koppies with guests when they encountered a surprise visitor who took a particular interest in their tyre.
Johann explained to Latestsightings.com: “We were out on an early morning game drive with Chinese visitors when we spotted a female leopard on the road.”
“As we slowly approached, we noticed a male leopard following her onto the road in close quarters. The female proceeded to cross the road and the male started walking straight up to our vehicle parked about 60m away. Moments later, I lost visual of the leopard as he disappeared in front of the vehicle thinking that he probably came up for a sniff and would walk right past us to follow the female.”
“About a minute later I felt something bumping the car and that’s when we realized that the leopard was actually biting the tyre. After reversing away from the animal to gain some distance he turned his attention back to the female and started walking towards her where she was laying in the grass about 30m off the road as if nothing happened. He then mated with her for a couple of minutes before they both disappeared into the thick bush.”
“What made this sighting special was that it happened at one of the busiest junctions in the southern part of the park, in the middle of the school holidays, bang on peak game drive time and there were no other vehicles in sight!
Just shows you that when in the park always, expect the unexpected.”
“It was a definite once in a lifetime encounter, I mean we all drive around for hours and hours hoping to just catch a glimpse of a leopard, but having one come walking right up to you and giving your car a tyre a good old bite is unheard of. We’ve been debating as to why the leopard bit the tyre as he never showed any signs of aggression and approached us directly from a far enough distance, so the only logical explanation according to me would be that there was another prime male on the road about 45 minutes prior to this encounter and we possibly drove through that male’s urine and the leopard that bit the tyre could smell the other males scent. Could have sparked a reaction especially as he had a female with him.”
“After many years working and living in the bush I’ve never seen leopard behaviour of this nature and it just made me recall how unpredictable wild animals can be. We managed to drive away for a kilometre or two and get ourselves into an open area away from the cats to assess the damage. By the time we stopped the tyre was totally deflated.”
On closer inspection, we found 7 puncture marks. Well, clearly the Kruger Park leopards don’t like NISSANS!
Just some advice, take enough photos and video’s to use as evidence when trying to explain what happened to your boss and insurance company because for some reason they’ve got the tendency not to believe you 🙂