Leopards!

So far, the images I’ve shared from Zambia have mostly been a mixture of subjects. Elephants, hippos, buffalo, etc. Conspicuously absent from my posts have been images of cats. To be clear, we had numerous encounters with lions and leopards, so I have plenty of images.

I’m celebrating Friday and the first day of October with a collection of leopard images. To my mind, leopards are the most elegant animals in Africa. They are sleek, graceful, and gorgeous. I suppose a cheetah might be considered as elegant as a leopard, but you’ll have to prove that to me. The stride of a leopard is a study in fluid motion dynamics. Muscular and silent, they always seem to be walking down the runway at a fashion show. And they have plenty of fashion to show off! Leopards have coats like crushed velvet and they never seem to get dirty or scratched. And then there are leopard cubs, the ultimate embodiment of cute. I know puppies and kittens are cute, but leopard cubs seem to have trademarked their own version of cute. I mean, seriously, it doesn’t get cuter than a leopard cub!

I’ve lost count of the leopard encounters we had on our game drives. I think at least four. Once we spent time with a mother and her approximately four-week old cub as she groomed and nursed him within two meters of one of our Land Cruisers. She walked up to the Land Cruiser after it had parked and lay near front bumper as if to use it for shade. Unfortunately for the photographers in that vehicle, they couldn’t see the mother after she positioned herself. Another time, we saw two slightly older cubs wrestling and annoying their mother. I didn’t get any images, but it sure was fun to watch them frolic! We also followed a solitary male for several hundred meters as he approached a stream and crossed it on a log. Here’s a hint about wildlife photography: get a guide who understands animal behavior. Our guide knew the leopard was headed for the stream and he positioned our Land Cruiser perfectly so we had a view when the leopard crossed the log. It was amazing! We got stuck in the stream, but it was worth the minor inconvenience. 🙂

OK, enough words. Have a good weekend and enjoy the leopards!

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