Written by Elle Durow:
The sun had just disappeared below the horizon and Ngulube the bushpig made his way down the river bank to dig for tender succulent roots in the damp soil just above the waterline of the river. He found a spot where the alien Syringa trees were growing and proceeded to dig for the soft roots with his snout. He was particularly fond of the bark on the Syringa roots.
As Ngulube dug a shadowy form materialised out of a thicket on the river bank above Ngulube. As the form emerged from the darkness of the thicket its golden hide with black rosettes became visible. It was Ingwe the leopard and she was on the prowl for something satisfy her hunger. Leopards consider bushpigs to be a delicacy. She spotted Ngulube below her and immediately lowered her body so as to reduce her silhouette and become less visible. Silently she crept closer to Ngulube who was really enjoying his meal. When she got close enough Ingwe suddenly leaped onto Ngulube’s back and sank her teeth into his neck. Ngulube struggled for a while and became weaker as the blood drained out of the wounds that Ingwe had inflicted on him. He didn’t last long and soon Ingwe started to feast on him, starting with his hindquarters. When Ingwe had eaten her fill she dragged Ngulube’s remains up the river bank and hid them under some bushes in the thicket from whence she had come.
Ngulube’s remains provided enough food for Ingwe to last her for a week. During this time she would retire into her favourite thicket to lie around and rest during the day. At night, just after dusk, she would slip out of her hiding place and feed on Ngulube’s carcase and then, when she had eaten her fill, she would go down to the river to quench her thirst.
Towards the end of the week, as the sun was setting in the west, she suddenly smelt something that excited her for she was on heat. The faint scent of a male leopard reached her nostrils. At the same time the pheromones given off by Ingwe guided the male leopard to her. A shiver of excitement ran through Ingwe as the male approached her through the bush. Although she wanted to mate with him she would not surrender easily. When he got nearer she snarled at him, but still he advanced on her. When he got within striking distance she lashed out at him with her front paw and scratched him along his cheek. He struck back at her, but only half-heartedly. He also snarled at her. After a while of this foreplay Ingwe submitted to the male and they united in the act of mating. Thereafter she let out a sigh and led him to her favourite lair where they both lay down together and rested.
The male leopard stayed with Ingwe for another week during which they hunted together and killed an Impala which they dragged up onto the branches of a tree so that their food would be protected from the jackals that scavenge in the area.
During the time that the male leopard spent with Ingwe they would often climb into a tall dead tree during the day so that they could observe all of the goings-on in the neighbourhood.
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