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spotting a leopard while on safaris outside of bera, india

“It was as if he had two faces, one of utmost calm, one of furious action; and he wore both with ease. He was like the animal whose face he wore, able to sit in silence for hours, without moving a muscle, then flying like a raging storm into battle, returning again to perfect calm when the fight was over.” ―Kaoru Kurimoto, The Leopard Mask

20130903_058_BeraI saw two leopards in the wild. On two occasions I went on safari in an open jeep into the bush outside of Bera, India.

Our guide and host Mr. Singh from Castle Bera took us in the late evening to a carcass of a cow which lay on a dirt road and which he suspected had been killed earlier by a leopard in the area. He knew one would return.

20130903_064_Bera

We waited nearby. Waiting. Talking quietly. A herder walked along the road, returning home. As he passed he could have put out his hand and have touched the bush that lined the road.

Then the guides spotted a leopard, a small one, in the bush where the herder had just passed. It lay quietly in the bush, waiting. The herder had not seen it.

The next day we returned to the same area and searched again. Soon the spotters with us found a second leopard, a much larger one than the one we saw the previous day; it was resting on the side of the mountain. Waiting. Watching. (Click on any photo to see it larger and in more detail.)

“Some kinds of animals burrow in the ground; others do not. Some animals are nocturnal, as the owl and the bat; others use the hours of daylight. There are tame animals and wild animals. Man and the mule are always tame; the leopard and the wolf are invariably wild, and others, as the elephant, are easily tamed.” –Aristotle

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