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Last Breath

The power of a still photograph lies in its ability to arrest a single moment in time. The photograph below depicts the last moment of this impala antelope's life. The leopard has grabbed it on the back of its neck and will soon slide around to the throat region and suffocate it. I could not help but notice the peaceful look in the prey's eyes as it seems to accept its fate and does not kick or make a sound. A still photo is able to freeze a moment in time and record it forever, herein lies the captivating power of my craft. Predators don't kill out of hatred and this female leopard has cubs she desperately needs to feed.

Unlike lions, which seem to view hunting as a major chore, leopards appear to view hunting as a perpetual game that they are rather partial to. They also differ from lions, in that their diet is far more catholic, comfortably including items as small as a mouse and as large as an impala antelope. The bush offers them a plethora of hunting opportunities and, like overgrown pussycats, they revel in a  game of the proverbial cat and mouse. Of all the big African cats, leopards are by far the most patient hunters. They will stare at a rustle in the grass or stalk a herd of antelope for hours, waiting for just the right time to launch an attack.

Nikon D3S, 200-400mm, F4 1/1250th ISO 200

The end.

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