A special and exciting sighting to start off the New Year – a male leopard hunted and killed a baby zebra that slipped while crossing the tar road.
This adrenaline-filled sighting was captured by Izahn van Zyl, while on a game drive with her family in Pilanesberg Game Reserve.
Izahn tells LatestSightings.com the story: “My boyfriend and I were camping at Manyane resort over the holidays, and on the 1st of January my parents came to visit us for the day. When they arrived, we went out for a morning game drive excited to see what we could find.”
“Our goal was to go to Ratlogo hide to see if the dam had filled up. When I visited on the 15th of December the dam was dry. We had no idea that by visiting the hide and driving this route we would be rewarded with a sighting that most visitors dream of.”
“As we were driving back from the hide, just before the main road we saw a herd of zebra and blue wildebeest coming towards us, we waited for them to cross the road (we didn’t think anything of the encounter until later). We continued driving and turned left onto Kgabo drive, there we saw more zebra and blue wildebeest.”
“This is where things started getting interesting… We saw an animal walking in the road, at first, I thought it was a lion, as people had seen the lion pride in the area earlier that day.”
“We drove as quickly as we could to get closer to the animal that turned out to be a male leopard named Gahiji! He snuck away into the long grass, and we lost sight of the elusive leopard, but a few seconds later I spotted him again. I saw him crawling closer to the zebra and her baby, he was in stalk mode.”
“I got my camera ready and started taking photos of the road hoping they would cross in front of us. Luckily they did just that. The mother zebra crossed first, and the baby followed. Unfortunately, the baby zebra slipped on the tar and before it could get up the leopard had caught up with it and went in for the kill!”
“After Gahiji had made the kill right next to the road, he moved off and sat underneath a nearby tree and the waiting began (the zebra wasn’t breathing at this point). Over an hour later the leopard came out to get his kill and the adrenaline came rushing right back.”
“My dad told me to be quick when I take the photos because once the leopard takes the zebra he is going to run, and he was correct. The leopard immediately ran back into the bushes, and we lost visual of him.”
“I remember the adrenaline rush from the sighting – from seeing the animal and not knowing what it was, to watching a kill plus the added pressure of trying to take the perfect photos. As soon as the leopard went into the bush, it felt like I accomplished something great by capturing the perfect shots.”
“My focus was mostly on the leopard and only later did the reality of nature and the bush hit me. I thought about how much trauma the baby and mother zebra had gone through.”