Kerry Balaam did an incredible job talking her guests through a sighting of a pride of lions and a lone leopard, explaining behaviours and possible outcome of the curious situation.
Kruger National Park, South Africa – Kerry Balaam, a long time Latest Sightings Member who has shared over 1,000 sightings and professional guide that runs Kruger Pride Safaris, watched this exciting scene play itself out over the August long weekend while on a drive with her guests for Kruger Pride Safaris and Birdsong Lodge.
Kerry explained to LatestSightings.com how the leopard found itself stuck in this less-than-ideal situation:
“Just after my guests and I left Lower Sabie camp, one of the busiest camps in the Kruger Park, we found a pride of lions.”
“The lions started walking, and so we were following them. The pride male seemed very interested in the lionesses. That male lion and one of the lionesses started running towards a bush and chased this leopard that must have been hiding behind the rocks. Within moments, the whole pride was surrounding the leopard!”
As one can tell from the footage, the leopard wasn’t there for a fight. It was acting very submissively. He was lying down, keeping himself small. His head was down, and his ears were flat, all techniques to show to the lions that he wanted to survive uninjured and that he wouldn’t attack if they wouldn’t.
Another extremely submissive behaviour is when the leopard rolled over. That is one of the most vulnerable positions for a cat to be in because the most delicate parts of the body are exposed. He obviously knew he didn’t have a chance against a pride of lions, so he was trying his best to let them know he wasn’t going to cause any trouble if they just let him go.
Lions tend to have very short attention spans. It seems as if they just wanted to check if the leopard was going to put a fight, saw that he meant no harm and then they got distracted. While the lions were distracted, the leopard saw the perfect opportunity to escape the danger. It got up, sneaked away and then ran for its life!
The lions gave a bit of a chase after the leopard, but then carried on sleeping on the rocks for the rest of the day, as lions do!
“Everyone on the vehicle was very excited to see such an interaction! I have never seen such a sighting like this before; it was crazy! And I will never forget it.”
Take a look at the curious encounter below.