Five leopards in a single photograph!

“I have worked in some of the best leopard viewing areas in the world, but I have never seen anything like this: a herd of leopards”

The other morning we decided to bite the bullet and get up super early, braving the cold and heading out in search of leopards. We decided to head for the area known locally as Perva. It is a massive granite kopje towering over a tiny village of a couple of hundred people. We wanted to get there whilst it was still dark and before the villagers started their day.

The wind chilled our faces as we searched the surrounding area using our spotlights. This is renowned as being some of the best leopard habitat in India. Closer inspection of the granite kopje clearly shows you why: countless caves, depressions, overhangs and crevices provide ideal opportunity for a leopard to look out and survey its territory below.

Within 10 minutes of arriving at our destination we had found the remains of a fresh carcass. Closer inspection showed clear bite marks on the throat. The carcass was still steaming and the blood was electric red. This kill was fresh!

I took the spotlight and passed it slowly over the granite above.

Immediately, a set of eyes shone brightly in my direction. My heart skipped a beat as it suddenly hit me that we were mere meters from a leopard. I raised my binoculars to inspect the gorgeous coat when Kapil, the driver, told me that there was another set of eyes.

I put down the binoculars and scanned the area again… I counted two sets of eyes, then three, then four and then five! I grabbed my camera and managed to snap a few pictures of this phenomenal moment. It was dark and I was shaking with excitement so the pictures were not great, BUT I had just managed to capture five leopards in a single photograph.

Now I have been fortunate enough to witness some amazing leopard moments, but nothing can compare to five in the same photo…

HERE IT IS…There are five leopards in this photograph. Can you spot them all?
HERE IT IS…There are five leopards in this photograph. Can you spot them all?

The five stayed in the same area for a while, long enough for me to get a look at them in the binoculars. I may very well be wrong, but it appeared that the make up was of an adult female, two sub-adults aged about 8-months, a two-year-old (sex-undetermined) and a big adult male!

The Perva Female moving away from the kill. We are not sure yet who would have made the kill. Is it possible that this unusual grouping of leopards hunt cooperatively? - We hope to find out more in the months to come.
The Perva Female moving away from the kill. We are not sure yet who would have made the kill. Is it possible that this unusual grouping of leopards hunt cooperatively? – We hope to find out more in the months to come.
Ome of the sub-adult male cubs at the kill. He is the son of the Perva Female. I estimate him to be about 8 months old.
One of the sub-adult male cubs at the kill. He is the son of the Perva Female. I estimate him to be about 8 months old.

I would love to hear if anyone knows of a single photograph with five leopards in a single frame? – It is certainly a record for me.

The sighting was bizarre and I can assure you that we will be returning many times to this site, in the hopes of getting a better grasp on what is happening with the leopards of JAWAI.

The Perva Female looks out surveying her land from the sanctuary of her granite kopje.
The Perva Female looks out surveying her land from the sanctuary of her granite kopje.

Written and photographed by Adam Bannister

6 thoughts on “Five leopards in a single photograph!

  1. Where is the fifth????? Ad I think you are messing with us 😉 It only counts if everyone can see it in the picture! What an incredible experience though, well done!

  2. Absolutely amazing Ad. Is this the same place that you have put the static camera? Hoping to get more than 5? Guiness book of records for you!!!
    Lindsey

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