Junior Learns a Harsh Lesson
A male leopard cub not only loses his lunch but almost his life!
Junior is a male leopard cub, almost one year old. He has survived the dangers of infancy and is almost as big as Mom. Like many others of his kind, he is alone and has no siblings to play with. He is now bored since he is not allowed to hunt on his own yet and does not know what to do. So here we have him lying around, waiting for something to happen.
I am so bored!
Mom is rather far, a couple of hundred yards away in the tree where she has been all morning.
Junior is feeling a bit peckish too but is not worried because he knows Mom protects and Mom provides. There are leftovers from last night tucked away in the larder up a tree nearby. So, he is content for now, but hoping for some excitement. Little does he know what is in store for him. Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for!
He suddenly decides to go exploring and to see if he can get a bite to eat.
I wonder what Mom's up to.
He gets to the tree Mom is on and decides to join her up there.
But wait, Mom is already bringing food down!
I better wait down here then
Oh oh, careful, Mom!
Mom, Can I carry it, can I, please?
Junior's big cat instincts kick in, he. must fight for his food!
Ah, mine, all mine. Now, what do I do with it?
Junior finds his own tree to place the kill.
OK, that looks safe.
While Junior rests under the food tree, the friendly neighborhood hyena drops in, he knows there is something interesting up there.
I better make sure it is safe from the hyena, maybe I need to reposition it just a bit.
Oh no! It fell down!
In a flash the hyena is upon the kill and grabbing it, runs off before Junior even realizes what has happened.
Junior comes scampering down but it is too late!
Junior's troubles are about to multiply. A pair of black-backed Jackals enter the scene and chase Junior, barking continuously. Junior, lacking experience is afraid and tries to run away.
Junior tries to escape from the Jackals but ends up with a gang of hyenas after him. He climbs up this small tree and perches precariously on a tiny branch, the hyenas baying for his blood less than six feet below! It is going to be difficult, one wrong step and he is going to fall right into their jaws.
Fortunately for Junior, it is his lucky day. The hyenas lose interest and wander off. He is reunited with Mom. 'Sorry Mom'.
Mom wants to go up the tree where Junior took the kill. "Mom, wait, I need to tell you something'.
That's what I was trying to tell you....... it's gone!
I'm sorry Mom, I really goofed up today.
Don't worry son. There will be another day for us. Let us look for another warthog, or gazelle.
The above leopard encounter was the most intense and beautiful I have ever experienced. This took place in the Naboisho Conservancy in the Masai Mara in Kenya, where we were staying at the Kicheche Valley camp. February, 2022.
Another Tale from The Wild Side.