The Leopard | Big Cat Tales: More from the Mara Region

The Leopard | Big Cat Tales: More from the Mara Region

– [Narrator] Leopards are
beautiful and elusive cats. In the Mara Region of Kenya, every chance encounter with a leopard is a treasured and remarkable one. Naturalist Jonathan
Scott has been studying the big cats of the
Mara for over 40 years. He and Mara experts Jackson
Ole Looseyia and Angela Scott have journeyed to the Masai Mara, a protected wildlife reserve, to reveal the secret life
of the elusive leopard. (gentle tribal music) – Masai Mara is the heart of Kenya. There is no better place like this place we are standing right now. There is nothing as
beautiful as Masai Mara. – We always think of
it as this little jewel that sits on top of the Serengeti because it is so rich, it’s so abundant, in so many different species. – Masai Mara in Masai means spotted lion. It’s spotted like a leopard. Leopards are like shadows. They walk like a shadow,
you don’t see them, and is exactly why I love leopards because it gives me that mystery. Can I find it? Can I see it? And the moment you see
this powerful big cat, it just bring all the joy of
searching for days and hours. – Leopard, they’re like gold,
but bugger, boy they’re tough. So this is the alaria rock, lugger, and the leopards love these. They’ll walk down
through the lugger itself or up amongst the bushes, and they’ll have their
cubs tucked away sometimes in those bushes or in
amongst the roots of a tree, and there’s some beautiful
big fig trees up here, too, which the leopards love. And it can be incredibly frustrating. You know, you can go days
sometimes without seeing a leopard but I think, you know, you
gotta work for the leopard. These are special creatures well certainly, they’re the creature that I most wanted to see
when I came to Africa. I mean, you know, if you said to me, what’s your favorite animal? I don’t even have to think. Oh, is it a cheetah, is
it a lion, no, leopard. The intensity of that look, eyes wide open, pupil just shut down to a pinhole. She’s looking out there,
and maybe she’s seeing prey. The creativity that has molded, shaped, a creature like this. So as it is in perfect
harmony with its environment. – [Narrator] The leopard’s
camouflaged spotted coat and talent for stealth, help to prevent them from being hunted. They are extremely fast and agile, reaching speeds up to
58 kilometers an hour, and leaping up to six meters. However, the explosion
of the human population, has reduced the leopard’s
historical range by 50%. Prized by hunters as trophies, and for their beautiful spotted skins, leopards are under
threat across the globe. Placed like the Masai Mara Reserve, and the adjacent wildlife conservancies, protect leopards by defending
their natural habitat. Here they can live and raise their cubs in a safe environment. While the leopard is
mostly a solitary creature, leopard cubs remain with their mother until they are a year and a half old. – Fig is on the hunt, she’s just been weaving along, and now she’s got a
position up in the tree where she can look out across the plains. She’s definitely hunting,
she’s checking for prey. And of course it’s perfect for a leopard. In a position like that,
with a good view high up for so far across the landscape. She can just wait for
prey to move towards her. So she doesn’t have to continually be on the move, searching. Sit, wait, opportunity
comes your way, you’re on. Here’s fig, she’s hunting. She’s come out of the tree. She’s seen wildebeest with
calves, that’s the target. They must have spotted her. – [Narrator] The fur
of a leopard is dabbled with spots and rosettes
unique to each individual. These beautiful coats work as camouflage, aiding their ability to
hunt and hide from enemies. As leopards move through
grass and thickets, they are nearly invisible
to their unsuspecting prey. – This is a constant game of cat and mouse between predator and prey. Each trying to outwit the other. The prey trying to stay alive, the predator trying to get a meal. – [Narrator] Leopards,
along with the jaguar, are pound for pound the
strongest of the big cats. And are known to drag
prey at the same weight, high up into the trees. Mother leopards bring meals to their cubs, and stash them in trees,
so they can eat safely away from dangers. – We’ve been searching and searching looking for Alarae, and
look what we’ve found. We’ve found Ndogo, one of her cubs. The good news is, he’s so well grown up. The last time we were with him, he was just a tiny little cub, and now he is up a tree holding
a meal that is quite big. It’s a calf of a wildebeest. Did he kill that? I mean we filmed him when
he was a small little cub. The chances for him to be able to kill and take kills up here,
by now, is very remote. I would think the mother
might have killed it. You see cubs successfully
growing in a territory, especially here, we know
there is so much competition. Lions in particular. It’s really really exciting to see him. – [Narrator] Leopards are some of the most intelligent and beautiful
cats in the world. And it is crucial that we do everything we can to protect them. Protected areas like Masai Mara, and adjoining wildlife conservancies are hugely important to
safeguarding the natural habitats of the region’s big cats. – There are no fences separating
the Mara National Reserve 1500 square kilometers,
from the surrounding privately owned land, Masai land. And we call some of that
area, wildlife conservancies, because the people, the Masai landowners, have made an agreement
with the tour operators to create a model which is sustainable. So it’s a win win situation for the Masai, and for wildlife. I think it’s vitally
important that we remember these are wild creatures. They have evolved in these landscapes. We have to allow the
cheetahs and the lions, and the leopards to
create their own balances, and not to interfere. – There is nowhere to
compare with this place. The is nowhere with the
abundance of wildlife, with the variety of landscape. And with, of course, attention brought to this scene by the big cats. (gentle tribal music)

24 comments on “The Leopard | Big Cat Tales: More from the Mara Region

  1. I’m insane to find these deadly predators are so cute OMG They’re just like domestic cats except they can kill you with just one blow LOL

  2. ABOUT TIME!!!! My favorite big cat, the leopard. They can eat up in trees, and watch while everyone else fights.

  3. I abhor all those animals that kill and feed on other animals. That's Nature I know, and also evil. You don't see a duck killing other animals. These animals are spiritually more evolved than the ones that kill to live

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