Leopard – the Elusive African Hunter

21 07 2009

Leopard (Panthera pardus)
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

The leopard is a strong solitary hunter.  Due to their steath and camouflage they are very hard to see when on safari. Many tourists complete their trip never seeing one or only seeing one from a far distance.

We were lucky… up in the North of the Serengeti (Lobo area) we came across a solo leopard resting only 50 ft from the road.  He sat and let us shoot for quite some time as his belly was full from the recent kill he had dragged up into a nearby tree.  It was early morning, so some shots were taken at ISO6400.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get much better – his brother came by and the two hung out and played a bit before moving on to their next adventure for the day.  Wow!

The solo leopard before his brother showed up:

The two together:

This is the more common view of a leopard – far away and in a tree… 

What an amazing adventure!

 





Topi – The antelope with odd tanlines

21 07 2009

Topi (Damaliscus korrigum)
Seregeti National Park – Tanzania

 
Among the most socially advanced of the ungulates, the topi (also called the sassaby) occurs in the largest numbers in southern Sudan and in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Its distribution is scattered, and populations isolated, probably because of habitat loss and hunting.

The topi is a medium-sized antelope with a striking reddish-brown to purplish-red coat. Distinct black patches appear on the face, the upper forelegs and on the hips and thighs. To complete its singular appearance, the topi’s yellowish-tan legs look like they are encased in stockings.

Although not quite as large as its relative the hartebeest (kongoni), the topi has a similar body shape. But it does not have such a long narrow head nor is it as high at the shoulder. The female is usually lighter in color than the male. Both sexes have thick, heavily ringed, lyre-shaped horns about 21 inches long. Topis have good sight and hearing and can run quite fast with a bounding gait.

They don’t really hang out in large herds but they are definitely a striking animal when you see them.  Quite the furry ears too!  Here are a few shots we took while on safari in Tanzania:

 

 








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