The opportunity to see a wild cat in the wilderness is one of the main attractions that make tourists flock to the wildlife locations worldwide and the Serengeti National Park is no exception to this rule. On our maiden Jeep Safari into the Serengeti National Park, our guide got a tip off that a Leopard was sighted on a tree very close to the game tracks. We rushed to the location and we saw this beautiful Leopard perched on a tree right next to the game track. This image, taken at 600mm and slightly cropped for composition gives you an idea of how close the Leopard was to the Jeep.
While driving to the location, our guide was telling us that sighting a Leopard in Serengeti was rare. We realized the magnitude of the rarity when we saw over 50 vehicles crowding to see this beautiful animal perched on the lone tree, as seen in the image below.
After we got our initial record shots, we parked our jeep further down the game track to give other tourists an opportunity to see this Leopard. We were convinced we would get better photo opportunities once the crowds eased out.
As we were observing the Leopard from a distance, it suddenly got up and looked in the general direction of a lone Wildebeest, which was grazing at about a kilometer from the tree. The Wildebeest was a fully grown adult and we were told by our guide that Leopards rarely go after such big prey. However, what happened in the next few minutes turned out to be our best wildlife moment to this day. The Leopard quietly got off the tree, calmly walked past the vehicles and took a perch once again on a termite mound. I guessed it was thinking about taking down the Wildebeest. And once the decision was taken to go for the kill, it skillfully used the tall grass to stalk the prey till it reached about 30 meters or so, and then attacked the Wildebeest and brought it down.
The stalking skills of this animal are so perfect that the Wildebeest never saw it coming even when the Leopard began the final sprint to reach it. The awesome strength of the Leopard, which it used to bring down the huge Wildebeest in just a matter of minutes was on display here.
After killing the Wildebeest and resting for a few minutes to gather its strength, the Leopard tried to drag the kill to the very tree from where it had launched the attack. However, that is when it realized that the Wildebeest was too big to be dragged back to the tree and the hot afternoon did not make things easier. The final twist to this amazing spectacle was when the Leopard decided to abandon the kill and return to the tree. These couple of images indicate that the wasted effort was something that the Leopard was not happy about.