A curious leopard cub climbs aboard a safari vehicle full of people to inspect what is inside, or rather, who is inside.
“It was a calm afternoon. We were a few staff members on a drive enjoying the scenery. We were bumbling around the reserve when a voice broke the silence over the radio. A mother leopard and two cubs were on the move! We made our way into the sighting and found that the mother had hoisted an impala into the tree, and the cubs were making their way towards the tree to feed.”
“The cubs did not appear to be interested in the meal. We observed from a distance as the mother began grooming them. This was when the one cub started making its way to us; it proceeded to walk past the front of the vehicle, and I anticipated it to come out on the other side.”
Wild animals often display moments of curiosity towards foreign objects within their environment. They will exercise extreme caution and wariness when exploring these objects. Perhaps the curiosity of this young cub was what got the better of him, for what transpired next was bizarre.
Leopard cub climbs aboard a safari vehicle!
“To our surprise, it climbed up onto the footrest of the tracker seat; we were in disbelief! The young leopard observed us and was inquisitive. As it moved further into the vehicle, our guide grew wary. The leopard then placed its paw on the bonnet of the safari vehicle. Then our guide made the right decision and began making noise to deter the young leopard.”
Interactions between humans and animals are uncommon on game drives. However, when they do occur, it is important to understand that, as tempting, as it may be to get the best possible sight of that animal, it is not ethical. The decision and manner in which the guide handled this situation were incredible and depicted great ethics and guiding skills.
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“The young cub gave a reluctant snarl and hopped off the vehicle. It moved a short distance away and continued to observe this strange green object that smelled of diesel and humans.”
This is an extremely rare encounter. It’s not often at all that cubs this young would choose to approach a vehicle, let alone climb onto one. Given how amazing it is, remember to ensure your and everyone else’s safety, and you should never encourage such behavior. If such a situation can be avoided, it should be.