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In the tree
Corinne Kendall — in East Africa Project    Share

Leopard in treeWe had almost reached home when I looked into a familiar tree and saw something a little less than familiar. “A leopard,” I exclaimed and the car slowed to a stop. Wilson couldn’t believe it. The leopard was only a few hundred meters from the entrance to the park. It was a small leopard, so I assumed it was female. She seemed to lounging very calmly in the tree, one foot hanging down. She looked at me with her large yellow eyes and I took a few photos. Then the mood changed. She growled at us, baring her teeth and I looked around to try and figure out what had upset her. We were pretty far and if anything I imagine she was enjoying a rare moment of piece with only 1 car watching her. The tree she was in was surrounded by bushes and it was difficult to see what was past it. Then Wilson remembered that when we had driven around the other side we had seen a hyena. The hyena must have spotted the leopard too. The leopard moved uncomfortably, looking below with anxiety. Then she moved upward and I noticed something else that isn’t normally in trees – an impala carcass. Hanging delicately from the upper branches was the leopard’s kill. Something the hyena would just love to have. She moved up towards it and ate greedily as if it might fall to the hyena any minute. As the leopard chewed down we could hear the crunching of bones. She pushed and pulled the carcass around trying to position herself to eat better. I kept imagining that the carcass would fall as she pulled it from its stabilizing limbs. Even worse, in her precarious predicament, I worried that the leopard might fall too – though this would be highly unlikely. After a half hour of eating and maneuvering the leopard seemed to calm down and we soon returned home only a few minutes from the park’s entrance.

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