19th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
The great escape

Watching a pride of lions we were very surprised to see a leopard walking behind our vehicle and in the direction of the lions, when the leopard made eye contact with the lions she dropped down into the grass and planned a quick and stealthy exit continuously checking over her shoulder to make sure the coast was clear. This could have ended very badly for this leopardess.On safari in the Kruger National Park with my wife and a friend and fellow photographer we had just had the most incredible encounter with a honey badger and were getting ready to head back when we decided to check if a pride of 13 lions we had encountered a day earlier were still in the area. We managed to find the pride in a dry river bed and were observing them for a few minutes when our ranger spotted a leopard crossing behind us in his rear view mirror. The excitement kicked in as a began to focus in on the leopardess and very soon my adrenaline kicked in realising she was walking straight to the lions having not realised they were in the river bed. The moment she spotted them I realised I wouldn't have many opportunities to capture her retreat as she could have gone in a number of directions and disappeared, an opportunity presented itself and I took it. The result is a beautifully framed retreat I have captioned 'The great escape'

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 08.2021
Date Uploaded: 08.2021
Photo Location: Mpumulanga, South Africa
Camera: NIKON D850
Copyright: © Saul Rivkind