Wildlife: On the Run

06th August 2013
While watching a group of Red Billed (Green) Wood-hoopoes yesterday morning, we heard a Puku whistling nearby. Initially we couldn't work out what she was worried about since she wasn't looking in any particular direction and had probably just got the scent of something scary.

Eventually, we spotted a leopard which was moving in the long grass under the trees nearby. We watched as it stalked and then lay down in the shade of a tree. We decided to sit and watch and concluded that the leopard had been hunting the puku (hence why we hadn't seen it) and that it had given up once the puku became aware of the situation.

After a while, a hyaena appeared from the grass nearby, perhaps following the leopard hoping to steal a quick meal when the cat made a kill. But rather than following the leopard, it walked away from the area and into the thickets. Had it been eating something already? Once again, I scoured the trees nearby looking for signs of a carcass, but found nothing.

After a long time, the leopard got up and walked slowly towards a small Sausage tree. Looking up into the tree a few times, it swiftly leapt up into the low branches and retrieved the hind-quarters of a baby puku which had been hidden from our view. I assumed that it would continue to eat, now that the hyaena had moved on and it was under less pressure.

I was completely wrong. In a strange move, the leopard descended the tree and ran at full speed across the plain towards the thickets. Anticipating its direction, I moved the vehicle in time to capture a few images as it pelted across in front of us.

I hadn't seen such behaviour before and can only think that the leopard, being a youngster, was nervous with us nearby and decided that he wanted to eat his meal in peace.

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