Fairly near the cheetah mother and cubs that I showed you before, there were three other young three-year old cheetah siblings (one male, two female) that had been thrown out by their mother a month ago, and were learning to manage on their own. My guide somehow found them asleep under a tree one morning (don’t worry, I couldn’t see them either):
Two were asleep
and one was on watch:
The previous evening they had been seen hunting and killing a young topi. Topi adults are good-sized antelope, 90-150Kg, much too big for the cheetah to tackle. Rather charmingly, the males are prone to standing with their forefeet on termite mounds to improve the view:
The males at this time of year are fighting for territory for their harem of females:
But there are also youngsters around, and the cheetah got one, near some woods. Big mistake. Out of the woods came a 70Kg leopard, much bigger than the 40Kg cheetah, and stole the topi.
I saw none of this, but it was the talk of the camp that evening. So next morning we went looking, and there, up in a tree in distinctively leopard style, was the ex-topi.
The leopard was nowhere to be seen, probably sleeping nearby on the ground. So we came back at 4pm, and there he was, sleeping on a branch just below the carcase.
He woke up, and decided dinner was in order:
He was hungry:
So he climbed up and claimed his meal:
Holding it in a deathly embrace:
And after feeding for an hour or so, he gracefully descended to the ground to sleep off his full belly: