Baboons vs leopard in the Mara

The leopard before the baboons came along…

– Masai Mara, Kenya.    The usual suspects in the Masai Mara include the great migration of over a million wildebeest and zebra, impressive male lions roaring across the plains, and groups of elephants munching their way through the savanna and woodland. But we have also learned over the years to always expect the unexpected….and on a recent trip to the Mara my guests were fortunate to have front row seats to an unusual and thrilling altercation between a troop of baboons and a leopard.

When we first arrived on the scene there was a stunning female leopard scanning the area from a tree, and a second, smaller leopard – perhaps the female’s son – on the ground near the base of the tree. The second leopard then climbed into the tree. The female then spied a troop of baboons headed towards the tree and she made her way down. But the young male stayed in the tree….

Being mobbed by 10 baboons!

The baboons arrived at the tree and ten immediately climbed up and started to mob the leopard!  There were snarls and growls from the leopard and the baboons were wahoo-barking and shaking branches. The leopard was cornered out on a small limb at least 30 ft up from the ground. The standoff lasted for at least 20 min and the baboons got to within about five feet of the leopard.

Lucky for the leopard it was starting to get dark, and the babs seemed to decide to move on to a different sleeping tree. The leopard just stayed in the tree as we then turned away to head back to camp for the night. The Mara never disappoints, and you just never know what you will see when on safari there.

Photos courtesy of Dave Simpson.