Airlink

Cat fight: leopard vs. caracal

Our Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year 2016 competition has received many great entries, with wildlife photography in particular blowing our socks off. But when we recently received this image by Dietmar Willuhn, captioned “dangerous encounter”, we just couldn’t help but wonder what the story was behind the photo.

leopard-vs-caracal

This is what Dietmar had to say:

“Observing Africa’s big cats is one of the most impressive highlights during a safari. Sometimes these sightings take a dramatic turn, and an interesting sighting turns into a ‘once in a lifetime’ adventure.

“This particular sighting happened in early November of 2012 as we went out for a morning game drive in the Selinda Reserve, which is located in northern Botswana. In the first hour of our game drive we spotted a leopard and her cub.

Leopard-with-cub

“Because Selinda is a private concession that offers the possibility to go off road, we were able to follow the leopard for some time. The peaceful situation suddenly changed when the leopard left the small cub hidden in the bushes to continue on her own. The adult leopard went into hunting mode and potential prey was not far away as some impalas were grazing close by.

cape-union-mart

“The leopard started creeping up on the impalas, maintaining cover in the dense and high grass. We lost sight of her a few times, and during one of those moments, loud and roaring sounds of a battle resonated through the bush. We carefully approached, cameras at the ready, but when we saw what was going on, we needed some time to realise what was actually happening. We were observing a fight between the leopard and an adult caracal.

Leopard_vs_Caracal

“The fight between the two big cats ended fast with the leopard targeting and killing her opponent with a bite to the throat.

Leopard_Caracal Leopard_and_Caracal

“It is possible that the nocturnal caracal had been sleeping in high grass and had no chance to ward off the attack when the leopard appeared on the scene.

Leopard_dragging_Caracal Leopard_kills_Caracal

“Territorial fights among big cats are common and would explain the unusual situation. But we were astonished when the leopard began carrying the caracal up a tree, as leopards usually do this to protect their prey from other predators.

Leopard_killing_Caracal Caracal-in-tree-leopard

“Nature is full of surprises, and thankfully we were in the right place at the right time to catch this incredible encounter.”

Caracal-in-tree-leopard EF 100-400


Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year

The Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year Competition is brought to you by Land Rover and Canon, in association with At Close Quarters, Airlink, Klaserie Sands River Camp, Hideaways, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Thule and Rhino Tears. The competition will run from December 2016 to May 2017 and entrants can submit images via the online entry form or via Africa Geographic's Instagram channel. This profile will be used to showcase photographic tips from experts as well as blogs from our sponsors to set you on your way to becoming our Photographer of the Year!

Africa Geographic