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Published: March 16th 2019
It was a full moon night,- I think it was Supermoon. And it was my second night in Tsavo staking outside the lodge for the elusive leopard. Last night I waited until midnight. The animal didn’t show up. Tonight, I am giving my last shot before I leave Tsavo tomorrow morning. It was past 10 pm and most in the lodge have gone back to their rooms. The attendants turned off the lights and headed to their rooms also. Only I was hiding in the shadow behind a post with my camera. I was keeping an eye on the rack of lamb hanging from the makeshift wooden post just outside the perimeter of the porch. It was bait. From where I took cover, I could see the moonlit landscape of the Tsavo plain far below on my right. I looked on my left. The open meadow and the distant hills were drenched under the dripping moonlight. I could hear the nightjars – ti, ti, ti. An owl hooted somewhere…the night world of Tsavo was waking up slowly. It was beautiful. I wish I could enjoy such a beautiful moonlit night with my full attention. But my senses were focused towards the
bait. In the daylight I saw a large stone just beyond the post where the bait was hanging and beyond the stone it was bush land. In the dark, I could not see anything behind the post. But I was sure that the leopard must have spotted me if it was hiding there, although I was careful not to make any movements. If it wants to skip the bait and rather wants to take a shot at me, the animal sure has an advantage. I knew it wouldn’t try to come from my right… the plain of Tsavo was just far below on my right and the animal wouldn’t have much cover. But on my left, it was wide open….the vast meadow with tall grass was an excellent cover for the predator. If it circles me through the open meadow, and tries to approach me from behind, I would be out of luck. I looked back with some unease. Not a soul! I checked my watch and it was close to 11pm. At a distance, lights are off in the common area of the lodge and it was all dark. Shall I stay longer? Well, tonight is my last night
in Tsavo and I wouldn’t have a chance to meet the leopard then. I have seen all the big games in Kenya in their natural habitat except a leopard. And this was my last chance. I knew this was not the ideal set up and the predator may not show up so close to the lodge. But the lodge keeps a log of leopard sighting and the animal has been a frequent visitor in this area according to the log. So this is the best chance I have. I was a bit worried about my own safety, but I was hoping that the leopard would avoid confrontation so close to the lodge perimeter, especially when it has been a frequent visitor here. Besides, my cover was not so bad. I was thinking all these and perhaps I dozed off a bit. Totally unwise, I agree. I am sure I will disqualify as a hunter in the wilderness. Anyway, suddenly I was startled by a rumbling noise. I sprang up like a lightning rod and turned on my camera. To my utter disappointment, it was a bunch of wild elephants that came from the nearby hills and moved to the bait
area. They ransacked the bush-land behind the bait. No, I didn’t take any chance! I silently folded my camera gears and backed off slowly in the darkness and made a run for the lodge….I have captured them in the slideshow of the video-blog. Hope you enjoy!
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