Julie Grohs

Camera: Nikon Z9

Lens: NikkorZ 400mm f4.5 VR S

Aperture: 4.5

Shutter speed: 1/800 sec

ISO: 400

Description: The male leopard of the Mara Triangle known as Shuuja bringing his kill of a young zebra down a tree along the Mara river in the early morning.

Story from behind the lens: On just the second day of my trip to the Mara Triangle during the migration this year a call came through on the radio that a small herd was building for a crossing at Peninsula. In addition to that build up, Shuuja had been seen in a tree on our side of the river. This was great news, after all of my trips to different countries in Africa I had never seen a leopard in a tree, let alone with a kill. Was it possible that I would finally get to see a leopard in a tree?? With a meal??? And of all the leopards in the Mara, my favorite leopard, Shuuja???? We weren't far away and arrived quickly, amazingly we captured an amazing parking spot (thank you Rueben) and the action began immediately. Shuuja was starting to move the zebra from the upper branches of the tree to the ground. I was able to create a series of images on his way down. This one tells the story of his strength, agility, poise, and beauty. After he disappeared into the brush at the base of the tree, tears welled up in my eyes as I felt so humbled by the experience; there were no words to describe the moment.