One giant leap for a leopard as photograph captures moment big cat swoops on its prey

 This incredible image captures a deadly leopard leaping from a tree to pounce upon an unsuspecting antelope 30ft below.

The patient predator lay in wait for four hours in its hiding place in the branches, before seizing the opportunity to strike.

As the female kudu antelope sought out shade from the blistering midday sun amid the trees in Botswana's Okavango delta, the leopard sailed through the air and sank its claws into the creature's back.

Incredibly, the antelope managed to buck the leopard off with a kick of its hind legs and escape into the undergrowth.

Lying in wait: The leopard was captured at full stretch as it leaped from its hiding place in the trees to pounce on an unsuspecting antelope below

The scenes were captured by amateur photographer Eric Gurwin, 59, from New Jersey, who was on safari with his son Jeffrey.

'We watched as a leopard climbed a tree that fortunately was right in front of us and rested on a branch at least 10 metres off the ground,' he said.

He's behind you: The crafty predator jumped 30ft from its perch and latched onto the kudu's back

'Our guide suggested that the leopard might use the tree to drop down on an unsuspecting animal once the heat of the day caused the animals to come into the shade.

'So we waited in the hope that something might happen - but we hardly expected what we witnessed,' said Mr Gurwin, an eye surgeon.

Wildlife: Amateur photographer Eric Gurwin, 59, waited for over four hours to capture these shots after spotting the leopard in the trees in Botswana's Okavango delta

After four hours, the leopard's patience paid off when a herd of kudu and impala antelopes moved under the tree.

Spotting its opportunity the leopard pounced, leaping 30ft from its hiding place and latching onto the kudu.
Escape: The startled antelope managed to buck the leopard off before fleeing into the bush in Botswana

'It landed with a thud on the kudu's back and attempted to grab on with its front claws,' Mr Gurwin said.

'Unfortunately for the leopard, the kudu was too big and strong and with one mighty buck she flipped the leopard into the air and off of her.

'We knew that this was an injured male leopard that was trying to heal a leg wound, and that was probably the impetus for this unorthodox manoeuvre.

'While leopards are know to drop down on prey the leap that this leopard took was incredible and as far as I can tell not previously recorded,' he said.

Patient: The leopard lay in wait on the branch until a herd of antelope moved in the undergrowth below  
Source : dailymail


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