Leopard steals and kills lion cub in very unusual sighting

Posted by Anita Froneman on 9 November 2021

In a very rare sighting, photographer Scott Hyman saw a male leopard steal a young lion cub, and kill it in a tree in Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park.

‘During my safari, I came across a male adult leopard on the road and started following it for well over an hour as it meandered until it suddenly stopped,’ Hyman told Latest Sightings.

‘The leopard suddenly leapt into the dense brush and seconds later sprang out with a lion cub in its maw. It sprinted down the road, cub squirming, and up a nearby tree around the bend by the side of the road.’

The lioness, who can be seen earlier in the video, might have been away at the time. A fight cannot be seen on the video between the leopard and lioness.

The leopard then killed the cub. ‘It held the lion cub firmly in its jaws, and bit into the cub’s skull, ending the cub’s life, and proceeded to devour it piece by piece.’ Hyman added. ‘At first I was shocked by what I saw, but quickly accepted it as part of nature.’

This kill could be attributed to a number of factors such as opportunistic hunting, or asserting dominance, but the exact reason for the leopard’s behaviour is uncertain and remains speculative.

Video and picture: Scott Hyman


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