This is an incredibly rare and beautifully captured encounter between a cute baby nyala who goes head to head with a leopard – quite literally!
Royal Malewane game ranger and safari guide, Andre Fourie shared this extremely heart-wrenching video with Latestsightings.com. Charles Hudson shared the footage shot at night.
“It was our standard afternoon game drive here at Royal Malewane (Greater Kruger National Park), when Juan Pinto, director and guide at the lodge called in that he had fresh leopard tracks close to Royal Malewane Lodge. He proceeded to follow the tracks and found the leopard and then asked me to join him at the sighting. The male leopard (named Mondzo) was busy with a territorial patrol after the good rains we had recently.
"The leopard was on the move and it was difficult keeping up with it, so I asked another guide (Rudi Huldshof) to come into the area to help us keep up with the cat. We lost all visual of the leopard for a while and then Rudi announced that he found it again.
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"When we got to the spot the leopard was at, we saw that he flushed out a baby Nyala. While the Nyala’s only instinct was to run, it was not nearly fast enough to get away, so the leopard just kept trotting behind it almost as if it found it amusing. As soon as the nyala realised it wasn’t going to get away, it turned to the leopard and approached it slowly almost as if seeking comfort in its keeper. This did not last very long though. The nyala quickly came to terms that the leopard was a predator and instead turned from flight, to fight mode! As the leopard groomed itself in preparation for dinner, the little nyala walked toward the leopard and then suddenly launching at it, ramming it with its head repeatedly! Because there was no enticement, the leopard’s instinct to kill also vanished. The two then settled down together for a while before walking off with the baby nyala, walking after the leopard, following it.
"The interaction kept us busy for a good hour after which we had to get back to camp. From what I heard from the other rangers, the interaction continued for another 40 minutes before the leopard swiftly ate the nyala and moved off. Working as a guide, we tend to refrain from getting emotionally involved with predator and prey interactions, but my guests found this sighting incredibly interesting and mentioned that this was something they had never seen or even heard of.
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"The guests are well-travelled people and go on safari trips every year. One of the guests even hoped that the baby nyala would escape as soon as the leopard started losing interest, but we know that nature and wildlife do not have the same emotions we have as human beings. If the nyala had by some miracle escaped and survived and made it back to its mother, she would have rejected him and cast him out anyway, because he smelt too much like a predator. So, the baby might have not survived either way. I’ve seen similar things happen on television, but this was an absolute first for me to experience first-hand. When it comes to an interaction like this, enjoy the rarity of the action that is unfolding. From a practical, ethical and physical perspective – give enough space where nor the predator nor the prey have an advantage or disadvantage. Also, respect other people who will be keen to view something like this.”
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