Game rangers in South Africa’s Kruger National Park see a lot of strange things, but they rarely see a leopard making friends with what is essentially its Thursday dinner. According to Barcroft TV, park ranger Estiaan Houy filmed this encounter while out on safari with guests. Instead of fleeing for its life, this young impala seems determined to make friends with an adult leopard. Despite being batted around by the playful feline, the impala sticks around and eventually ends up chilling with the predator.

The bizarre interaction lasted about an hour before the leopard left, quickly followed by its new, tasty friend. We’re not sure what happened to the confused impala, or why it developed its strange attraction to the large cat. Did it think the leopard was its mother? Did it smell good? Or was the impala just that brave that it was willing to risk being dinner to satisfy its curiosity?

Whatever the case, the leopard probably didn’t mind having the impala close at hand—especially if it got snackish.


Image screenshot of video by Barcroft TV on YouTube

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3 thoughts on “Video: Leopard Befriends Young Impala

  1. This is hardly a big cat befriending it’s lunch. It is either a young cat or one that already had a full belly and/or a temporary lack of its predator ways, but its no befriending.

  2. It looks to me like the fawn impala was already hit a little bit in the hind quarters. It’s cut up a little. The cat looks spaced out. I suspect they are both very young and the cat was “practicing” on the impala and the impala too disoriented or too stupid to realize it was in imminent danger. I also think if they had kept recording they would have captured this cat feeding on video.

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