WATCH: Leopard toys with new-born impala before its natural instincts kick in

2019-01-17 19:00
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This leopard seems to briefly change its spots, before nature ultimately took its course.

Shared with Traveller24 by Capture the Wild, it shows an amazing video of a leopard catching a baby impala.

Instead of eating the impala, the leopard curiously licks the new-born bokkie, with Darren Muller, aged 32, with 8 years guiding experience, capturing the rare moment.

Darren works at Inyati Game Lodge in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, with the footage captured in the northern section of Inyati’s property.

“We were out on an afternoon drive tracking Elephant when we stumbled upon a female impala that had given birth in what I estimated to be last two hours. The new-born baby was wet and the placenta was still visible, says Darren. 

Female Impala’s generally leave the herd before birth and the mother and the new-born were alone.

"For the next five minutes, we watched the new-born clumsily become familiar with its movements. Then, all of sudden there was commotion and Dewane, an old dominate male leopard, who must have been stalking the female and her baby, emerged and moved towards the Impala.

The mother instinctively ran, leaving Dewane directly in the path of the young impala.

"My guests and I feared the worst and this is when I began filming”

However the leopard did not immediately go in for the kill.

Darren explains he read about rare incidences where this type of behaviour has been witnessed in big cats, particularly females.

However, he says it is the first time he has ever seen a leopard behave like this and "the fact that it was an elderly male makes it even more peculiar!".

Darren says, “ It’s so hard to get into the mind of animals and understand why they behave in specific ways. If I was to speculate I would think that the reason Dewane behaved like this is was because of the confusion of the young impala not running away.

"Perhaps the trigger instinct was suppressed and the leopard simply became curious about the new-born impala”

But the sighting left the seasoned guide with mixed emotions. He says, "You come to understand that this is an inevitable part of nature. But even with this reasoning, it’s still very emotional to witness.”

Fortunately, the group were also able to find the elephant herd they were looking for when they came across this unusual sighting.  

When it come to your next bush experience Darren says, “Appreciate both the big and small that nature has to offer, bring binoculars and a good camera and you never know what’s around the next corner."