Mating leopards, according to the textbook, are not supposed to bother with hunting. Recently, I saw them throw the textbook out the window, interrupt their less than romantic copulations, and chase down a baby nyala.
Well, there wasn’t much chasing to be done, because the nyala was only a few days old.
The male leopard, took off like a shot into some thick bush, the stalk forgotten about, and popped back up with the helpless victim in his clutches.
Adding to the unusual events, he had not killed the little chap, but instead, stood over it, looking quizzically at it. The female leopard, having heard the cry for help from the little nyala, came rushing in to see if she could get a part of the meal on offer. She too put instinct aside, and watched it for a while.
By the time I managed to get into a position to photograph the madness, the nyala lamb made a mad dash for it, taking the two leopards with it, in what became a cruel game of cat and, well, nyala. These miniature chases went on for a while, but only allowed one photo opportunity. I did get a sequence that I am extremely proud of, given the terrain, and lighting! (Check the madness on Mating leopards kill nyala)
Eventually though, it all came to an end, when the female leopard laid down the business, ending the nyala’s misery.
Immediately after, the male came back to the kill, chased off the female, and took his prize. While he was feeding, she repeatedly tried to mate with him, but he took her advances as an attempt to steal his quarry, and met her with enough aggression to keep her at bay.