Sankhesh Dedhia

Camera: NIKON D6

Lens: 600MM

Aperture: f/5.6

Shutter speed: 1/1600

ISO: 400

Description: It felt like the moment was meant to be for us to end the 5-day safari in the best way possible, was like the very delicious desert you get after a 7-course meal which leaves one to be very satisfied

Story from behind the lens: It all started at around 11.30AM when we were around the “lookout” area where we were expecting a potential reverse migration of wilder beast and zebras at the river crossing. We got news that there was a leopard around. Our guide was very certain that there could be a potential kill that happens if the leopard is hungry since there were so many animals around it. We went by and saw a huge male leopard (Shujaah) right there in the bush. The massive leopard with a small cut on the left eye, giving it a unique look. It was an ideal spot for Shujaah with all the wilder beast and zebras around to go for a kill and that is precisely what it started walking for. Unfortunately, there were about 35 / 40 cars around and it became very chaotic with all of them trying to get the best shot possible. This led to the leopard getting blocked and also made the herd of wilder beast and zebras move away to the other direction. We were very disappointed at this miss, it is extremely rare to see a leopard making a kill, and barring our guide none of us had seen this. Most of the other guides and tourist were happy seeing the leopard and were not to bothered about what happens next. Our experienced guide Dikir Moses told us we have to wait the whole day if needed, but we have to see this leopard make a kill today. Shujaah went back to the bush and the herd of animals were a little further up, nowhere close to allowing Shujaah to make a kill. We waited while all others left. Most cars left for other places or lunch as it was getting closer to lunch time, but thanks to our guide, we waited. Suddenly at around 1.30 PM a herd of wilder beast started moving towards the bush where the leopard was hiding. We sensed something exciting and the leopard also was suddenly up. The leopard was in the bush, and there was a small gap of about 200 metres due to the dry river that led to a flat area where the wilder beast were crossing. It was the perfect spot for the leopard to hide and go towards the wilder beast. It went slowly unseen due to the gap, and made the first attempt, but failed at it. It got spotted as soon as it went up and the wilder beast stopped. It went down in hiding again. In about a minute and a half from there the wilder beast from behind kept pushing and once again the wilder beast started crossing (the first few at a very fast pace knowing there was a leopard there). The ones behind probably were unaware and were crossing. We waited ready with our cameras and phone for a video, very well positioned by our guide Dikir Moses, and in a fraction of a second Shujaah pounced high onto one wilder beast. It was a sight to see such a grown-up male leopard to jump so high and get its prey at the first attempt. The wilder beast was caught and it struggled as the leopard bit into its neck and finally succumbed. These are moments that exemplify the “circle of life”, where life of one becomes food for another. The leopard dragged its meal to the bush and the rest of the herd of wilder beast survived to fight another day.