After a long break from our latest post, due to personal reasons and extensive safari and photography work, I want to resume posting updates and images from our photographic safaris in some of Africa’s finest wildlife reserves. This past August of 2018, while on a private safari with our longtime guest and friend Daryl Yeo and family from Singapore, we had the chance to obseve and photograph an amazing predatory behaviour from one of Mara’s most famous Leopards, a female named Kaboso.
We caught up with her one morning while she was hiding in a bush along a small river, just on the side of a popular Wildebeest crossing place. The plains surrounding the stream were full of Wildebeests on both sides. Chances were high that she was in ambush, preparing to hunt. Her camouflage was extremely effective. At around mid-morning the Wildebeests started approaching the river to drink and cross. We witnessed several failed attempts by Kaboso to hunt. She was moving from one drinking location to the other, following the erratic movement of the Wildebeests, but for the first day, no luck.
The next day she was there again, in the same location. We stuck with her the whole day again and saw more failed hunts. After every attempt Kaboso would return to her hiding place. Her two nine months-old cubs were hiding downstream in the forest. During lunch hour she finally succeeded in killing a Wildebeest but unfortunately almost entirely out of view, in some thick bushes along the river. In the evening the Hyenas living in the area found the kill and stole it from her before she could get a proper feed.
On the third day she was back again in her ambush spot. It was an overcast day, perfect for photography. As the Wildebeests started making their way to one of the crossing points, we moved into position, trying to estimate where the hunt might occur. The Wildebeests descended into the river and Kaboso didn’t waste any time. We could not see the river bed due to the bushes but we understood by the panic of the wildebeests that something was happening. Shortly after Kaboso emerged from the bushes right in front of us, in hot pursuit of a Wildebeest calf. We photographed the whole sequence of her catching the unlucky calf, jumping on its back and twisting around its neck and under its belly to grab its throat with her powerful jaws. It all happened at lightning speed, but photography makes every moment eternal. Once her grip on the Wildebeest’s throat was firm and secure, other vehicles came closer to see the end of the suffocation. We were lucky to see the whole action happening just in front of our cameras.
After hunting she dragged the kill under a bush along the river. Hopefully out of sight from the Hyenas. She then went to call her cubs. They appeared when they heard her repeated calls. Together they walked back towards the kill but before reaching it, but one cub remained behind. Kaboso waited for it for some time but eventually decided to proceed with just one cub. They fed for a few minutes before the Hyenas showed up once again and took the kill. It must have been frustrating for her.