Sighting: Spotted Duel in Kafue
Location: Kafue National Park, Zambia
Date: 8 May 2013
Photographers: Lufupa Camp guests
Observers: Brian and Golden
One day, during the morning drive, three male cheetah resting on a termite mound were spotted by guides Brian and Golden. Finding cheetah is always special, but especially on this particular day as the same guides and their guests had found four different cheetah (a mother with three sub-adults) the day before. These guests had therefore had the privilege of seeing seven different cheetah within 24 hours.
Whilst everyone was engrossed in the sighting, a male leopard was approaching in the distance. It wasn’t just any leopard, but was the resident dominant male – easily recognised owing to his large and muscular build. It appeared that the large tom was not aware of the cheetah and the cheetah too had not noticed the leopard. As the leopard got closer, the cheetah trio, being downwind, picked up the leopard's scent. The cheetah immediately crouched in the grass, and proceeded to stalk the leopard!
When the leopard was within pouncing distance, the trio started to growl and hiss, instantly causing the leopard to growl back. This broke the cheetahs' nerves, and, as one, they bolted in the opposite direction. The shoe was now on the other paw and the leopard began to stalk the cheetah.
This game of ‘cat and mouse’ ensued for some time, with both predatory species giving and taking ground – a little at a time. We watched this intense scene for around two hours.
The leopard suddenly broke the stalemate and attacked the cheetah. A very vocal fight ensued for the next five minutes, resulting in the cheetah running away to live another day.
What an incredible sighting – unfortunately the fight took place within some dense grass so photos were difficult, but the sounds that emanated during the clash were incredible and created amazing sensory memories of the wonders of Kafue.