Leopard - Invisible Animal
Sometimes, it takes several days to find a leopard in the savannah, even if you know the territory where this or that individual lives. I often happened to be two steps from a leopard, but did not notice it in the grass or on a tree. If the leopard does not want to be detected, then most likely it will not be possible to find it. Leopard females are especially careful when they have kittens.
They learned from colleagues that in the area of the Talek River they saw a big female leopard Bagati, with two very small kittens. Of course, I had to find her. We had very little time. The forecast promised heavy rain, and the Talek River is known for the fact that after a heavy rain the water level in it rises strongly and for some time it becomes almost a mountain river. Just a week ago, she washed away a huge jeep, and a week earlier a man died in a stream. In search of a leopard, we had to cross the river over a ford and had to return back before the rain began.
By noon, we reached the intended place where Bagati could hide her kittens. Leopards usually choose rocks or dense shrubs for these purposes. In the area of the river Talek many such places.A few hours of searching did not lead to success. It was a wild heat, we were tired, and gray clouds were already gathering on the horizon. We had to leave in the direction of the base, but on the way we met a large monitor lizard, whom I began to photograph.
There was utter silence around, it seemed that camera clicks could be heard for a hundred meters, but even despite such silence, we did not hear Bagati coming up behind us. Imagine - a cat weighing 70 kilograms and even impressive sizes absolutely silently approached us at a distance of two to three meters. If a person entered the leopard diet, we would not have noticed how they became dinner for kittens.
Alas, we had to leave, so it was not possible to follow Bagati to find the kittens. Moreover, it could be far enough away from the shelter.
I have been working with leopards for several years now, but I still cannot stop wondering at their ability to be inconspicuous. Awesome animal.