Leopard Tree Trio at Mombo

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Sighting: Leopard Tree Trio at Mombo
Location: Mombo Camp, Chiefs Island, Botswana
Date: 18 January 2014
Photographer: Graham Simmonds
Observers: Graham Simmonds

The day had barely begun at Mombo when there was the call over the radio that three young male lions had tree’d three leopards! The guests got some great viewing as three of the Moporota Boys had managed to get three leopards up the same tree!

Pula, one of the resident females had been mating with a male leopard when another male must have heard the sound and came running. The leopards were identified as Blue Eyes and an unidentified male. The three lions would have also heard the commotion that leopards make when mating and came to investigate. At the site of their larger cousins the leopards took refuge in the same rain tree whilst the lions lay at the trunk waiting for the leopards climb down. The leopards, cunning and patient as they are, decided to stay in the tree; however, having two males who despise each other having to share a tree made for entertaining viewing!

As the day wore on the sun changed angles and so the lions now hot, bothered and lacking the patience of leopards sauntered off to hassle someone else.

We thought this would lead to the male leopards climbing down and having it out or one running to safety after the displeasure of having lions at the base of the tree. However, Blue Eyes and his challenger’s patience was matched by their stubbornness, ego and lust for Pula. Everyone sat enthralled as Pula would climb up to the new male and present herself, hissing at Blue Eyes as she ascended to a few branches above his head. The male would bilge and there would be a shaking of branches and loud snarls. She would then, as if to rub salt into a wound, slink down past Blue Eyes, snarling as she went and rest in a bough, repeating this every few minutes.

After a while, the new male decided enough was enough and clambered down the tree, making a rush for some protective shrubs and disappearing into the thick blanket of greenery. Blue Eyes was left a bit the worse for wear with a few scratches and bruises obtained in the scrap that inevitably follows a female in oestrus, particularly an unobliging female in a rain tree.

We are unsure where the new male has come from, he is smaller than Blue Eyes but obviously knows how to handle himself as well as charm the ladies! Magic Mombo!

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By Graham Simmonds

As the former General Manager of Mombo Camp, and now based in Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls, Graham is perfectly placed to share all the extraordinary experiences and sightings from his travels to our camps in the pristine southern African wilderness...

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