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A Leopard's close encounter with a Baboon by Isak Pretorius

Many years ago I followed a very specific leopard in the Mashatu Game Reserve of Botswana for a few days.

This young male was relaxed and full of character. I realised that he was either fearless, or stupidly arrogant as he would often walk right into a troop of foraging baboons.

Although leopards predate on baboons, they are also a leopard's greatest enemy. A male baboon could easily kill a leopard with those long canines.

This day the leopard walked into a troop of baboons again and was immediately harassed by a gang of the males. It was incredible action and behaviour to observe. The baboons encircled the leopard even as he quickly hid in a bush in a very defensive posture. The baboons went crazy, jumping up and down, ready to attack while making a lot of noise. I imagined what could happen next and was ready with my camera.

Then, all of a sudden, the leopard took a gap and bolted for the hills with the baboons close on his heals. He did manage to get away safely, but I’m sure his heart was pounding fiercely.”