Leopard & Farewell

Mackenzie and I set up several camera traps in my backyard last week, and here is our short compilation of nocturnal footage here at Mpala. On Monday at 2:15am we were visited by this gorgeous leopard, triggering the camera just seven meters from the porch. Leopards are very elusive to humans on foot, and will actively slip out of view before they can be detected. I’ve clocked in countless hours of searching for animals at night over the last several months, but I’ve never been lucky enough to encounter a leopard (or even hyena). So far I’ve had a wonderful time seeing genets, white-tailed mongoose and their shrieks, porcupines, owls, and other nocturnal residents, and only once I heard a deep growl in the thick bushes near me. In the footage you can also see the leopard scent marking by clawing at the ground with its hind legs. Leopards leave scents in a variety of ways, including rubbing the scent glands of the face on vegetation, urinating, or in this case marking with their interdigital glands.

Fresh leopard tracks after a rain

One hour before I departed from Kenya, a leopard was spotted along this road lounging in a shepherd’s tree (Boscia sp.) with a warthog kill. Warthogs are supposedly the most delectable item on the menu for the big cats. By the time we arrived the leopard had slipped away, surely to return to its meal at a more peaceful time.

Still image of the leopard from the camera trap footage

It has been a wonderful and emotional several months at Mpala. So many friends that I will miss dearly, both animal and human 😉 Finishing with a bang, visit my post about a lioness with two of her cubs — shy and as adorable as can be. Also, below is a short compilation I had made for my mom for mother’s day while I was still at Mpala. It’s accompanied with Tchaikovsky’s Valse Scherzo played by my violin idol, Leonid Kogan. I hope you enjoy it!

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