Earlier this month, Graeme Mitchley, 47-year-old Deputy Principle of Hurlyvale Primary School, was near Lower Sabie in the Kruger National Park, in South Africa, when he came across this action-packed sighting!
Shared by LatestSightings, Graeme says, “I had been watching a leopard across the other side of the river. He was stalking and definitely hunting. The bush was thick and I kept on losing visual. There was no point trying to photograph or video the sighting at this point. I thought I would just enjoy the scene.
"I noticed an impala herd nearby and I realised that they had grabbed his attention. All of a sudden, there was dust everywhere and the impala herd scattered! There was a lot of alarm calling when I noticed the leopard hauling a bushbuck carcass into a nearby tree.
"I was in a bad position and realised I would have to move my car into a better position so I could start videoing the scene. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed movement in the river. Two male lions had also just seen the leopard haul the carcass into the tree and were dashing in that direction.
"Finally, I managed to start filming. One of the lions decided he wanted the leopard’s kill and climbed the tree. It was amazing to witness, a first for me," says Graeme.
The lion swung his left paw towards the leopard and kill, the leopard just managed to evade his clutches and went higher up. The branches were not that thick higher up, I was amazed at the leopard’s agility.
"What also amazed me, was the fact that he was taking the kill with him, he wasn't letting the lion have any! The lion soon realised he was in a no-win situation and decided to descend. He was in a very awkward position and it was quite funny to watch.
The lion eventually got back on to the ground and both lions made their way down to the river. After realising all was clear the leopard moved further down the tree to continue his meal.
"My heart was pumping and the adrenaline was flowing. Just to see a leopard or a lion is an amazing experience, but to witness the interaction between the two was mind-blowing. It was also the first time I had seen a lion climb into a tree to try and steal a leopard’s kill. I drove away from the scene in second heaven, I was still pinching myself an hour later asking myself if I had actually watched that scene play out
It is hard to predict what is going to happen in nature, says Graeme.
"All I can say is, be patient and see what unfolds. I patiently watched a leopard for half an hour stalking his prey, I didn’t know how the scene was going to play out. Other cars got bored and drove away. Little did anyone know there were also two lions hiding in the reeds! After seeing how the scene was going to unfold I got into position as quickly as possible and started filming. Always have your camera ready
Most people left the leopard sighting as he was far off and wasn’t always visible. When the lions made a dash for the tree, two other cars joined the scene. The people in the car next to me got very excited, you can hear them in the video. All the while I held my nerve and started filming. But my heart was going a hundred miles an hour. Even now I get so excited just thinking about the scene.”