THROWBACK THURSDAY 15 JUNE ’17
Thursdays are sometimes referred to as throwback Thursday on social media sites wherein users post or re-post some of their older photographs, videos or memories of some sort.
So we thought today we might join the trend and look back at an incredible sighting once witnessed, the day dominant male leopard known as Chavaluthu (“fear nothing” in Shangaan) had a run in with the Impalabos Pride (3 lionesses and 1 male lion at the time).
It started out as a normal afternoon game drive with the idea of returning to the area where Chavaluthu was seen on the morning safari, not long after we left the lodge the call came in over the radio that indeed he is sleeping close to a dam called xikulu dam (“xikulu” is a term used in Shangaan to refer to a big bull elephant). One of the rangers that was on his way to the leopard spotted the Impalabos Pride also sleeping next to the dam just around the corner and out of sight of Chavaluthu. These two cat species typically rest during the day and generally only start moving when it cools down this being around sunset.
Chavaluthu moves closer to the water for a drink and at the same time some of the lionesses get up and move towards the water as well, it is at this point that they were made aware of one another’s presence. Predators of different species are known enemies and in this case the odds are stacked against the leopard and quickly made his way up a tree to seek refuge but the tree he chose was at such an angle that the lions could also climb up the tree. This forced Chavaluthu to go to the very top among the thinnest branches where the weight of the lions will not allow them to go, one after the other the lionesses each try to get to him but luckily he was out of reach. During all of this the young male lion just stood close and watched the females one by one go up and come down the tree, realizing their’re not succeeding they lost interest and moved off. Chavaluthu waited until the lions were well clear of the tree and finally he could make his way down and quickly left the area.
The unknowing of what can be seen on safari is really what is driving the excitement of the guides, trackers and their guests, and so no one safari is the same no matter on how many you go. Below is a short video clip that was captured of this amazing sighting!