Etosha National Park, Namibia, Africa

Leopard sneaking up on an African elephant on a waterhole. The elephant does not yet see the leopard behind him while bathing in the waterhole. Etosha National park, Namibia

copyright Anette Mossbacher, 10 September, 2020

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This photograph was captured with a Canon EOS-1D Mark III and a lens. The following settings were used:

  • Aperture: ƒ/7.1
  • Exposure time: 1/3200s
  • ISO: 640
  • Focal Length: 235mm

The original photograph has the following dimensions: 3133 by 2089 pixels (WxH).

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African leopard and an elephant bull are having a little dispute. The female leopard was sneaking up on this elephant bull at a waterhole. The elephant is enjoying a refreshing bath. Spraying water over his body, dipping underwater so that only his trunk we see above the surface. A leopard shows up from her hide while this elephant bull enjoys his large bathtub. I knew this female leopard had two cubs hiding near this waterhole. I was waiting for three days, from sunrise to sunset, for a glimpse of the cubs. Sadly, it never happened.

Instead, I witnessed how this African leopard snuck up from behind to this elephant bull. Immediately placed herself right behind the elephant to drink some water. The elephant dipped himself in the lukewarm water again and suddenly came up and turned around fast. Within one second, the trumpet was going; also, its giant ears flapping to try and scare this leopard away. Undoubtedly with all the fuss this elephant created, the leopard did not react at all. The predator continued to finish drinking and then afterward went slowly back to her hide.

African leopard, Panthera pardus, is in the category vulnerable in the IUCN list.

Explore our Predators and Elephant theme, or other wildlife photographs from Africa. Please view our African Wildlife Photography portfolio.

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