I was with a very special guest and the first few days of her stay provided lots of excitement and some wonderful sightings. We climbed onto the vehicle for the afternoon drive of her third day and I said to her “ We have had a lot of lions over the past few days, lets go and look for leopards.”
So that is what we did.
A short time into the game drive we entered one of the South Luangwa’s beautiful ebony groves and I noticed that a troop of baboons were not happy at all. It soon became apparent as to why.
Laying at the bottom of a massive ebony tree was Chipadzuwa, a young female leopard, around one year in age and still learning how to be a leopard.
The baboons were becoming increasingly upset by her presence and some of the bigger males began to get closer and closer to here in a bid to intimidate her.
At this stage, she paid them little attention.
After a few minutes, she decided to get up and find somewhere a little quieter to rest and wait for mum to return.
Just as she began to move, one of the more confident baboons, snuck down from the tree and gave her tail a little tug.
Well, she clearly was not expecting that and the young leopard jumped out of her skin. As soon as the baboons sense her fear, they descended from the trees on mass and gave chase.
No less than 100 baboons chased after the fleeing Chipadzuwa, all screaming in unison as the perused her.
The noise began to die down the further away they got and just as I began to turn my vehicle around the noise grew loader and loader and coming through the trees, I could see one leopard with 100 baboons following close behind.
The chase continued right passed our vehicle and through the ebony grove.
Suddenly all fell silent and I began to worry for the young leopard.
Fortunately, we managed to find her the following day, no worse for wear but I’m sure, a little shaken and a valuable lesson learned, never show weakness to a troop of baboons.
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