Watch the nerve-wracking moment caught on camera of when a male leopard finds himself surrounded by a pride of lions in the Kruger National Park.
Kerry Balaam, long time Latest Sightings Member who has shared over 1 000 sightings caught this exciting scene on camera as it played itself out over the August long weekend, while on a drive with her guests for Kruger Pride Safaris and Birdsong Lodge.
Kerry explains 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."
It was then that the male lion and one of the lionesses started running towards a bush and chased this leopard that must have been hiding behind the rocks, Kerry says of the moments leading up to the scene in the video.
Suddenly, 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 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 behavior 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.
“Everyone on the vehicle was very excited to see such an interaction! I have never seen such a sighting like this before," says Kerry.
Lions tend to have very short attention spans. It seems as if they just wanted to check if the leopard was going to put up 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!
The sighting is one Kerry says she will never forget.