• VJ

Hunting skills

"A series of images captured of this natural history moment where a leopard was practicing his hunt."


We arrived "at the scene of a happening" - that was evident from the number of vehicles at the spot. Yet our guide found the right vantage point to frame the subject - "The leopard". After spending a few seconds with it, we realised it was hiding something which we couldn't view properly. We changed our vantage point to get a peek into what it was - "A HARE". You could just see its ears (scroll to the 2nd image above - look near to the leopards neck) and it was alive. What was going to unfold?



In the first image here, the leopard can be seen easing out, watching the petrified hare not moving much. I realised that beyond just fear, the hare was already bruised so that probably affected its mobility as well. But all that changed in a few moments. The hare rushed to a nearby damp water hole (water was nearly all dried up). That moment, the leopard sensed the need to get ahead. As you can in the next image it dashed ahead and blocked the injured hare from moving further. The hare lay holed up at the same place for the next few minutes as the real hunting lessons unfolded.


The leopard now is not willing to wait anymore. The lessons begin. In both these images, you can see how it takes position. For what - to practice, to pounce. It’s a tough moment to witness as the hare gets battered every time it strikes but that’s the rule of nature. While we were there we witnessed these pouncing acts happen 4-5 times. There was more damage to the prey after every strike. You can see how petrified it is.


Post the pouncing sessions, the leopard's next intent was to make the hare more mobile. In a bid to make it run and catch it tried to push the poor thing continuously. As you can see in the picture, the hare is bleeding, and probably with just only fear and nothing else left it in, it does not move away from that place. The leopard went around to try to nudge it - but the prey was just living its last moment where it was!


All further nudging and persuasion did not yield results for the leopard. The hare was just not moving out. Finally, it decided to end the prey's life and its own lessons. With one bite, the struggling life was put to rest as the leopard carried the hare for its meal (all of it happened inside the bush).


A footage of the lesson in action. Hope you enjoyed this blog.