A picture is worth a thousand words, they say.
Whoever they are, they said it.
On our recent short visit to Singita in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa, we were fortunate to spend some quality time with an old male leopard called the "Camp Pan Male". He is estimated to be around 16 years old, which is very old for a male leopard (especially considering the amount of other males he's had to run into over the years).
Have a look at this photo.
What does it "speak" to you??
Think about it for a few seconds before reading on.
|Nikon D3s | Nikkor 500mm f4 VR-II | f5.0 | 1/500 SS | ISO-1100|
There's a very compelling story to this image - it was taken at the end of a very emotional sighting of him trying his best to feed on a kill he'd stolen from another leopard. His legs were wobbly, his hips looked cripple, and his teeth were worn down. He couldn't get into the very small tree that the kill was hoisted in. I will make the entire story the subject of a different post, because there's some good video footage that my wife caught of the event that would give you an idea of what went down.
Anyway, here he was lying in the grass after exerting all his energy to grab a bite or two...and as he longingly looked up at the kill he was unable to wrest free from the branch it was snuggled into, he looked forlorn...defeated. I was looking into the eyes of a dying leopard. He knew it. I knew it.
As of today he is still alive (it's merely a week after we were there), but his condition was pretty poor, and we were probably some of the last people to see this leopard alive...and that makes this image special to me.