Check Out These Two Leopards In Fight To The Death
For many people seeing a leopard in the wild whilst on safari is right at the top of their bucket list. So when the Jenkins family came across a couple of the big cats engaged in a full scale brawl whilst on a trip to South Africa’s Kruger National Park, they felt they had hit the jackpot. Unfortunately, things did not end very well because they soon realised the two leopards were locked in a titanic struggle to the death.
Not a game
The footage shows a young leopard being attacked repeatedly by a much larger cat. When the Jenkins family first came across the two leopards they were fully engaged and initially the family thought the two cats were playing. They soon became aware what they were witnessing was anything but a game. After close to 25 minutes of continuous attacks the smaller leopard lost his battle and was suffocated by his larger rival. The winner did not stick around to feed on his dead rival and left after ten minutes of a bit of sniffing and licking.
All about the baby
Why would a leopard kill one of its own? Experts do not thing it had anything to do with territory because of the difference in size between the two leopards. The larger of the two appears to be a male sub-adult aged between three or four years, whilst the victim appears to be a one to two-year-old juvenile. It is highly likely the older leopard attacked his younger counterpart to boost his chances of siring his own set of cubs.
This is known as infanticide where an adult male kills off the offspring of the same species and is common amongst leopards. When cubs and juveniles are killed, their mothers are brought back into oestrus which allows the killer cat to father the next litter. This phenomenon is rarely witnessed and whilst the practice does seem very cruel, it in fact helps leopard populations stay healthy.