Savannah Serenade: A Spectacular Encounter with Majestic Leopards

Some people would pay thousands to eat lunch with a spectacular view, but this crafty leopard takes her meals to another level.

These incredible pictures show the big cat having a snack while up a tree in south-western Kenya and were taken by New York-based photographer Cindy Corcoran.

Ms Corcoran had to patiently wait nearly two hours before the female leopard revealed herself and led her safari group to the secret lunch spot.

Feat: With incredible agility and strength, this leopard dragged its kill up a tree to eat

Tasty: The animal made the most of its peaceful vantage point in the tree to have a relaxed bite to eat

Wild and free: The savannah in south-west Kenya is famous for its diverse population

Ms Corcoran said: ‘We were driving around the Maasai Mara early one morning when we saw about 25 vehicles around some thick scrub.

‘We knew it had to be something exciting so we drove over to find out that there was a leopard in the area.

‘After about 90 minutes, one by one each vehicle left because this leopard was nowhere in sight anymore.

‘As they were each pulling away my guide spotted this female leopard well hidden in this thick brush.

‘It finally got down to about three vehicles, when she finally decided to come out in the open.

‘She proceeded to walk out into the wide open savannah plains, taking her time, and obviously knew where she wanted to go.

Protective: The leopard had left its prey high up the tree earlier in the day to keep it safe

Hungry mouths: Experts believe the leopard was planning to take the gazelle home to share with the family

Unforgettable: Ms Corcoran said the experience in the Maasai Mara would stay with her for life

Guarded: The female leopard made those following her wait for two hours before leading them to her meal

‘We followed close behind her and she seemed relaxed and disinterested in us driving along with her.’

Ms Corcoran followed the predator for a while before seeing the leopard stop suddenly and look around a lone tree before climbing up at impressive speed.

She said: ‘We were so focused on looking at her that we did not notice that there was a Thomson’s gazelle body hanging near the top of this tree.

‘This was a kill that she must have put up there the night before. She sat with it a few minutes, then came back down the tree.

‘It was funny because she just kind of lounged around the tree, sitting in the sun, then the shade, and then taking a little nap on the ground near the tree.’

The Maasai Mara National Reserve is a large reserve named after the Maasai people, the traditional inhabitants of the area.

Fascinating sight: Ms Corcoran noticed the leopard because roughly 25 tourist vehicles were gathered around it

Patience rewarded: One by one, the safari groups departed, until only the few remaining got to see the creature run its intriguing errand

Peckish: The female ate some of the gazelle herself before apparently taking it back to her two cubs

It is famous for an exceptional population of lions, leopards and cheetahs, game, and the annual migration of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, and wildebeest to and from the Serengeti every year from July to October, known as the Great Migration.

Leopards live mainly in grasslands, woodlands, and river forests. They are usually associated with savannah and rainforest, but are exceptionally adaptable – in the Russian far east, they inhabit temperate forests where winter temperatures reach a low of -25C.

Ms Corcoran believes that the leopard was saving most of the kill for her cubs.

She said: ‘My guide said he believed that she had two small cubs in that area and was bringing her kill to share with them.

‘This was a morning I will never forget, and once again proving that you need to sit and be patient, especially when it comes to seeing a leopard in the wild.

‘We spent about four hours waiting for her to come out and watching her on this journey. I could not think of a better way to spend a morning in the Maasai Mara.’

 

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