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A Leopard Named "Hollywood"

By | March 24, 2015
A leopard in the wild

In South Africa’s Thornybush Game Reserve lives a little cat with big ambitions. Our group named this 18-month-old leopard ‘Hollywood’, on account of his readiness to amuse and entertain us.

He appeared during our first game drive, putting on a brave show stalking a Cape buffalo bull. Adult buffalo are not typical prey for leopards, which are solitary predators that must bring down their prey singlehandedly. Weighing in at around 1500lbs, the lone bull had little to fear from an 80lb young leopard.

But our intrepid film star had obviously not read the textbook. He spent nearly half an hour carefully stalking the buffalo. Each time the bull turned his head to see if the pesky little cat was still following him, Hollywood would duck behind a bush to conceal himself.

Eventually, bored with that adventure, Hollywood wandered over to our open game drive vehicle to sniff out the shoes of our tracker sitting on the front hood. After that, he plonked himself down in the dust and rolled on his back, all four paws in the air, as if to say, ‘that’s it, folks, show’s over’.

The following day he was seen stalking a white rhinoceros, before switching back to his favourite quarry – Cape buffalo. This time, however, the pregnant cow he was stalking was not so amused. She turned on him, charging him until he scarpered up a tall thorn tree. At which point, Hollywood wisely decided to end his show for the day.

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Robyn Keene Young

Nearly two decades ago, Zimbabwean-born Robyn Keene-Young left her job as an attorney to live in a tent and document the African wild with her photographer husband. Since then, operating out of remote wilderness, she has shared her intimate moments with some of the continent's wildest animals. Her travel and nature writing has taken her from the deserts of Namibia to the forests of Uganda, the plains of the Serengeti, and the shores of the mighty Zambezi. Robyn’s work has been published in newspapers and magazines worldwide and she is the author of five books on Africa, including Backseat Safari and Africa Unplugged. In 2008 she spent eight months on foot with a troop of baboons in the Okavango Delta, making her Emmy-nominated documentary Swamp of the Baboons. Her latest show, Great Zebra Exodus, about southern Africa’s largest mammal migration, is currently being aired on PBS’ Nature.

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