Female Leopard, Lion Sands, South Africa by Sabrina Colombo

It was my birthday and for the special occasion, we decided to go to Kruger. The sunrise was simply magical and with it, the sounds of the bush. Birds calling, impalas browsing in the first lights, wonderful sky and lions roaring! Honestly, I couldn't have a more perfect start to the day.

While driving, we found a spotted hyena walking down the road, in front of us. We decided to follow it at a respectful distance to see where it was heading to! In the moment in which we crossed a dry drainage line, when I turned my head right, my jaw dropped. A leopard was sitting up, in the middle of the dry river, looking in our direction. We stopped the vehicle and that's when I was fast enough to capture her royal expression! The spotted hyena seemed to continue on its path but eventually, she came back to further investigate the leopardess.

After a few moments, the leopard walked in the tall grass and a second leopard popped out. The mating pair of leopard was "disturbed" by the spotted hyena, who walked very close to them, sniffing the ground and never making eye contact with the two big cats, who were both watching the hyena walking around them. The moment was tense but all the three animals opted for a peaceful tolerance and after a few minutes of curiosity, the hyena continued its journey, leaving the leopards in the tall, lush, summer grass.

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