Would you walk away from a tiger lying 10 feet in front of you? Well, I did and only for the lure of that elusive, enigmatic predator – the leopard. We were at Ranthambore, face to face with a handsome male tiger (T6 aka Romeo) when our guide Hemraj suggested that we head off to a nearby waterhole to wait at a leopard’s spotted deer kill. The reluctance was momentary, the chance of a leopard on a kill was too good to pass up.
And we waited for a couple of hours, amusing ourselves watching the flycatchers, mynahs and drongos frolic near the water. No sign of leopard. So we decided to wander back and see what Romeo was upto. But the tiger probably had had enough of posing for tourists, and he moved into the bush. And we headed back to the kill.
Just as we turned a corner, we saw something shadowy headed towards the kill. We slowly moved closer, cameras ready to capture a feasting leopard. But the diner was no spotted feline. It turned out to be a wild boar, nonchalantly tearing into the deer’s hind quarters. While I’d heard of wild boars being omnivorous, I’d never seen one before. And this guy was no nervous meat-stealer feeding on leftovers – he was eating into a virtually fresh kill, right in the open. Good for him!
But what of the leopard? Where was he and why did he abandon a fresh kill? Hypothesis – the leopard must have been scared away by the presence of a tiger barely a few hundred metres away. And instead of taking the risk of facing upto his larger cousin, he chose to probably melt into the bush and try his luck elsewhere.
The winner in all this – the wild boar. Getting a free meal and a welcome break from the vegetarian diet. Didn’t think twice before stealing someone else’s hard won kill. What a pig!
Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
The leopard must have been scared by the presence of a tiger barely a few hundred metres away. So instead of taking the risk of facing upto his larger cousin, he chose to probably melt into the bush and try his luck elsewhere.