Heartbreaking Pictures: Male Leopard Killed a Cheetah in the Tree


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Male leopard killed a cheetah, known by researchers as Rongai, near Sala’s Camp.


The cheetah is a large cat of the subfamily Felinae that occurs in Southern, North and East Africa, and a few localities in Iran. The leopard is one of the five species in the genus Panthera, a member of the Felidae. Leopards eat small hoofstock such as gazelle, impala, deer and wildebeast. On occasion, they may also hunt monkeys, rodents and birds. They often bring their prey up into the branches of a tree to eat it and protect it from other predators and scavengers.

How many species of leopard are there?

There are 9 leopard species in the world: African leopard, Indian leopard, Javan leopard, Arabian leopard, Anatolian leopard, Amur leopard, Indochinese leopard, Sri Lankan leopard

The dead cheetah was found hoisted into a tree, where the leopard had been feeding on its prey for a while. The leopard, named Mukubwa, killed the cheetah late at night, pulled her up a tree and then feasted on her carcass for a full three days.

Here are a few graphic images taken by Femke, from the Mara Cheetah Project, an organisation that monitors cheetah populations in and around the Masai Mara. This was a sad day for us at Sala’s Camp, because we know the cheetahs in the area very well. We assist the Mara Cheetah Project with research information and sightings during game drives.

Our guides carry cameras with GPS tags, and whenever they see a cheetah, they take a photo, which is then used to ID the cheetah using its spot patterns, and marks the point on the map with a date and time. This is very useful for building up population density estimates.

We encourage Sala’s guests to do the same by downloading an app to their phones to assist with research. Femke the MCP leaders come and stay at Sala’s regularly, and are available to meet guests if they are interested in cheetahs, giving lectures to explain the work being done in the Mara.

If you are interested in further supporting conservation efforts in the Mara, join the Mara Cheetah Project crowd funding campaign here. For more information on the Mara Cheetah Project, see here.

Written by Paul Steyn


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