Quintessential beauty, unforgettable elegance, striking power, heavenly grace and a perfect balance of many qualities: these are the words that come to my mind every time I see a leopard.BRM and BRF BRM and BRF are two siblings named Black Rocks Male and Black Rocks Female. I know the names lack imagination, but refer to the area where they live. Black Rocks is a basalt ridge surfacing along the Mwagusi River, a good place for hunting hyraxes, one of the favourite prey species of young leopards not confident enough to target bigger mammals. They are probably three years old. When we started seeing them they were around eighteen months old, together with their mother, who was extremely shy. She always moved away from us but the cubs would often stay, curious of cars and people.
At one of the first sightings we had of them, the three leopards were cornered by a pride of lions, perched high up in two huge baobabs!
BRF has become very, very confident, and she is completely unfazed by vehicles even when she is on the ground”
BRM loves baobab trees and in recent times has started killing impalas and dragging them up there, but when he is on the ground he likes to keep his distance. They have left their mother to get on with their solitary lives, but sometimes when they meet, BRM always approaches BRF with a friendly manner, and she always tells him off with snarls and growls. This year we found them in a baobab with a third leopard, a male of the same age (BRM2) that seems to have a strong bond with them. He may be a cub of the same litter that left the mother before the other two, and before we started seeing them.
Sightings of these “Spotted All-Stars” are often the highlight of visitors’ experiences here in Ruaha, with their effortless combination of fierce grace and power, and they certainly are among my favourite animals to photograph.