Gareth Poole | The Prince
Often nicknamed "the prince of the bush", male leopards are known as very regal, majestic animals and as part of the Big Five, they are often highly coveted animals for safari guests to see and experience in real life. This particular male leopard was named the Split Rock Male, and the photo - taken in Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve - aptly shows him in the exact environment that inspired his name. We heard him vocalising while on game drive, calling for a female leopard who we know has her territory in that area. We found him in the dry river bed in front of the lodge, and followed him to this point on a rocky outcrop. As leopards can be quite elusive animals, it is always extremely exciting and special to view them in this sort of position, where they find themselves higher up, looking down into the vehicle. The image perfectly portrays the regal aura and appearance that dominant male leopards so characteristically exude. The setting in itself also could not have been more perfect, with beautiful colours and soft, dappled sunlight shining through the vegetation around him, contrasted with the stark and clean lines of the rocks on which he was laying. At the time of writing this post, the Split Rock Male is still the dominant male leopard of the area around the Sand River.
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