Panthera pardus male

An unexpected encounter turned into a lifetime memorable experience.

rendezvous with the big cat.


Leopard - called out by the lady in the jeep. It was the first sighting of this big cat for both of us. It was her first safari in her life and mine was 30th in the beautiful BR Hills. It took sometime for me to spot the cat and took some days to believe that I had seen leopard in BR Hills.


Usually they are shy and try to get down the tree as soon as they see a jeep nearby. But it did not mind our presence. I took some decent images of this guy and he slowly got down the tree. Then came the female from the top and sat on the same branch where the male was sitting initially.

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Leopards, like other cats prefer to keep themselves clean. She was no exception. With its papillae - minute hooks on the upper surface of the tongue - was grooming itself leaving no part as an exception. They do fluff up their fur to keep themselves warm in the winter and do it with saliva to stay cool in summer. Perhaps tongue is the busiest one of all the parts of the cat.

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After giving a lot of different pose for us, it had decided to go down and join its mate. I have seen leopards either on the ground or on the tree top sleeping but never hoping from one to another. When it was doing the acrobat that’s when I had witnessed how adept they are at climbing trees. I was just awestruck by its adventures.

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Next day morning we came to the same place and this time only female was present at the top while male was waiting on the ground. It stayed for a while and then joined its mate again. We did not notice them in the evening again thinking they were gone or sitting silently in the bushes waiting for us to leave. The sign of jungle fowl’s continuous call made the situation more exciting. It climbed on top of the tree and this time the vocal was more louder. We felt their presence again when we heard their chuff. We did not stay there for long, moved on with our usual business. We did not pay attention to that place in the next few safaris.

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Their acrobatic skills on tree tops, intense stare definitely make anyone to fall in love with them. And they love trees. And trees density is shrinking. It is really important to protect their habitat and maintain a healthy ecosystem.