Photographed in Masai Mara.
We were already on our way home after a long and exhausting day in the bush when suddenly our guide spotted a little movement in the corner of his eye. “Kaboso” he shouted while immediately pulling the wheel of our vehicle. And there she was, the Queen of Leopards, one of the most fierce mothers of the entire Masai Mara, moving through the bushes in full stealth mode, on the look-out for dinner.
But the sun was quickly dropping below the horizon and therefore time was ticking. Sylvester silently manoeuvred our Electric Vehicle towards the bushes where she was ambushing on a little family of warthogs and we waited, crossing fingers and toes that the whole show would happen right in front of our eyes. And before I even got my camera’s ready, she decided to charge and the mother warthog and her 3 babies were shooting out of the thickets, Kaboso right behind them. In a split-second she suffocated one, another one, and with the third baby escaping she went straight after the mother. It all happened in the snap of a finger, right in front of our eyes. One family destroyed in order for the other one to survive, because minutes after it all happened, we found her little cub hiding in the bushes, waiting for dinner to be served.
A true spectacle of nature, the circle of life in all its brutality. But what struck me most was the execution of this whole ordeal. The agility, the precision, the speed, the instinct. The beauty of a true wild animal, a mother on a mission, with little margin for failure. Here’s an image of her, seconds after the hunt, leaning over one of the suffocated baby warthogs, ready to drag it into the bushes to feed her son. Now I know why they call her the Queen of the Mara.
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