They say a leopard can’t change its spots – but this particular big cat was forced to ponder the error of its ways when it went in for the kill and got soundly outsmarted by a brave antelope. The intended prey made an unlikely escape after being ambushed by a leopard as it battled a rival.
The red lechwe was already exhausted having locked horns with another male when the killer cat struck – but managed to shake it off.
The fast-paced footage was shot by safari guide Thomas Nkwazi, in the Okavango Delta area of Botswana, as he enjoyed a morning drive with four guests.
‘We watched the red lechwes fighting for about 10 minutes before the leopard surprised them and attacked,’ explains Thomas, 31. ‘At one point the antelope was running with the leopard hanging under its throat before it dropped it down.
‘The lechwe was too big and strong, and after the battle the leopard was limping on its left front leg. The antelope had some scratches and a bit of a cut on the shoulder, which I think was from a fight with another lechwe.;
Despite the violent attack, the antelope suffered only minor cuts, while the opportunistic cat left with its tail between its legs.
Thomas was delighted to film such a rare incident: ‘I was so excited to witness such an amazing sighting – I could not wait to go back to camp and show my colleagues.
‘It was really overwhelming. I have been guiding for 10 years and that was one of the very best sightings. I’m very proud to have caught it on camera.’