Genius hunting strategy: Leopards ambush from high trees and then dive down like an F1 to capture the antelope

I’m just diving out for lunch! Amazing moment a leopard leaps down on its impala prey

This is the incredible moment a leopard leapt from a height of 40 feet to snare a spot of lunch.

The cunning big cat dives from a tree into a herd of startled impala, quickly pinning one of the animals down.

The African antelope moved to graze underneath the tree, unaware that the crafty predator was lurking in the branches several metres above them.

 

View to a kill: This is the incredible moment a leopard leapt from a height of 40 feet to snare a spot of lunch in Botswana after spying some impala from a lofty branch

 

The only way is down: The leopard (circled) plummets towards the unsuspecting herd of impala, grazing peacefully beneath the branches

The spotted animal carefully sized up her prey before dramatically launching herself at her target on the ground.

The sneak attack caused the impala herd to flee in fright – except for one poor animal that was stuck in the female cat’s vicious grasp.

Within seconds the attack was over – and the leopard held her prize in her jaws.

Down to earth cat: The leopard here is just a split second from hitting the ground

The sneak attack caused the impala herd to flee in fright – except for one poor animal that was stuck in the female cat’s vicious grasp

Yasmin Tajik, 41, from Las Vegas, USA, was on a morning game drive with her family and a ranger in the Moremi National Park in Botswana when the guide spotted the leopard concealed in the tree.

She said: ‘Within a few minutes, the leopard postured, ready to attack, and then leapt from a height of about 40 feet above the impala, directly on to her unsuspecting target below.

‘Camera shutters were clicking, adrenaline rushed through our veins, and the remaining unhurt impala quickly scattered and commenced their bark-like distress calls.

Success: The leopard drags its prey off, the rest of the herd having sprinted to safety

‘In what felt like mere seconds, the struggle and kill was over, as the leopard dragged the carcass away.’

The group watched as the leopard unsuccessfully tried to climb a nearby tree with the large carcass in its mouth in order for it to avoid rival predators that may have come across the kill.

Yasmin said: ‘Her failed attempt only wet her appetite, so she opted to commence her meal with the impala carcass right on the ground, risking attracting other predators who could swipe her hard won meal.’

After the brief feed, the leopard tried to hoist the remains of the impala up another tree – but failed again.

Defeated, the cat hid the carcass at the base of tree and took a midday nap – a welcome respite from the eventful morning.

Yasmin added: ‘I was in shock, but was more focused on trying to capture what was happening on camera.

‘It was an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime event and I’m so happy that I was able to experience it with my family too.’

 

Climbing expedition: The leopard tried and failed to drag the carcass up two different trees to hide it from opportunistic predators

Making a meal of it: The leopard eventually resigned itself to eating the impala on the ground

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