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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Legadema, famous leopard-Eye of the Leopard

Last month we met Legadema, the famous leopard on Chief's Island in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Legadema (lah-heh-deem-uh)—Setswana for "light from the sky"— is the star of the award winning documentary Eye of the Leopard by Beverly and Dereck Joubert. The Jouberts tracked and filmed her from eight days old for for three years.

There are some intense scenes in the film. For example when she narrowly escapes an attack by a pride of lions. Lions will kill rival predators when the opportunity presents itself. We actually watched a lioness hunting Legadema last month. We were watching the lions when both we and the primary hunter, a one-eyed lioness, heard Legadema's call. She was marking her territory nearby. We followed the lioness as she stalked Legadema for 10 minutes before giving up the chase. Click to enlarge the picture of the one-eyed lioness. You can see her large, swollen, purple eye. Apparently it has been like that for more than a year and she is still the most successful hunter in the pride.

Another remarkable scene from the Eye of the Leopard is when Legadema kills a baboon which, unbeknownst to her, has a tiny infant clinging to it's belly. I was telling this story on the Land Rover when our guide, Dr Malinga, said "Yes, that is the Leopard we just saw...Legadema. She's a movie star". I could hardly believe it.

In the baboon incident Legadema's maternal instincts seem to get confused as the infant reaches out to her for protection. She mothers the baby baboon for the night curled up on a tree branch. The infant dies during the night. You can watch that clip below...

It's not the first time I've heard of predators looking after their prey. A lioness adopted a baby Orynx in Kenya and looked after it for two weeks. You can read that story here or watch the video below:

Here's a link to the Eye of the Leopard
If you'd like to find out more, Legadema even has a Facebook page here.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

a story that touched my life!!!!

March 13, 2013 at 3:58 AM  

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