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Mother's Intuition (25) More files...
While tracking a familiar wild leopard with a newborn male cub at Botswana's Tubu Tree Camp our photographer Suzi witnessed a remarkable situation. Suzi had photographed this same female leopard, successfully raising her previous litter of cubs. The big cat considers the safari camp part of her territory and is well acclimated to human activity. If fact, the leopard treats the lodge boardwalks as her personal pathways and the pool as her water bowl!

Young leopard cubs are frequently left alone while their mothers hunt for food, leaving them vulnerable to predatory lions. Stashing young cubs safely is a tough and never ending job. The leopard's familiarity with the camp, combined with instinct, sparked an idea. The cub would be safe INSIDE the lodge for a little while and her instinct was correct. Tucked away in a dark den-like spot behind the sink, the tiny cub was secure until mom returned. Shortly afterward the mother leopard collected her young offspring and carried him to the next and more typical den- a deep crevice in a tall tree.

As Suzi remarks "I feel blessed that I was able witness such a special event. For an animal to feel so safe around people that she would move her cub to camp, in the bathroom no less – is extraordinary and unheard of. Every day we are bombarded with tragic news about wildlife all over the world, this experience was truly a ray of light."
Leopard (Panthera pardus) mother carrying one-week-old cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641789 Leopard (Panthera pardus) mother carrying one-week-old cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) mother carrying ten-day-old cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641790 Leopard (Panthera pardus) mother carrying ten-day-old cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) mother carrying ten-day-old cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641791 Leopard (Panthera pardus) mother carrying ten-day-old cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) mother and four week old cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641813 Leopard (Panthera pardus) mother and four week old cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) mother carrying ten-day-old cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641792 Leopard (Panthera pardus) mother carrying ten-day-old cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) mother carrying two-week-old cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641800 Leopard (Panthera pardus) mother carrying two-week-old cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) mother carrying two-week-old cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641798 Leopard (Panthera pardus) mother carrying two-week-old cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) mother carrying two-week-old cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641799 Leopard (Panthera pardus) mother carrying two-week-old cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) female on boardwalk, Tubu Tree Camp, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641796 Leopard (Panthera pardus) female on boardwalk, Tubu Tree Camp, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Bathroom at camp, Tubu Tree Camp, where leopard stashed her cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641795 Bathroom at camp, Tubu Tree Camp, where leopard stashed her cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Bathroom at camp, Tubu Tree Camp, where leopard stashed her cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641807 Bathroom at camp, Tubu Tree Camp, where leopard stashed her cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) mother carrying cub on boardwalk, Tubu Tree Camp, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641797 Leopard (Panthera pardus) mother carrying cub on boardwalk, Tubu Tree Camp, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Bathroom at camp, Tubu Tree Camp, where leopard stashed her cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641808 Bathroom at camp, Tubu Tree Camp, where leopard stashed her cub, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) two-week-old cub on floor of bathroom after mom stashed it there, Tubu Tree Camp, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641793 Leopard (Panthera pardus) two-week-old cub on floor of bathroom after mom stashed it there, Tubu Tree Camp, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) two-week-old cub on floor of bathroom after mom stashed it there, Tubu Tree Camp, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641794 Leopard (Panthera pardus) two-week-old cub on floor of bathroom after mom stashed it there, Tubu Tree Camp, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) four-week-old cub at den, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641812 Leopard (Panthera pardus) four-week-old cub at den, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) three-week-old cub at den, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641810 Leopard (Panthera pardus) three-week-old cub at den, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) three-week-old cub at den, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641811 Leopard (Panthera pardus) three-week-old cub at den, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) female at den in tree, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641803 Leopard (Panthera pardus) female at den in tree, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) female at den in tree, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641804 Leopard (Panthera pardus) female at den in tree, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) female at den in tree, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641802 Leopard (Panthera pardus) female at den in tree, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) female at den in tree, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641805 Leopard (Panthera pardus) female at den in tree, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) female at den in tree, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641801 Leopard (Panthera pardus) female at den in tree, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) female sleeping at den in tree, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641806 Leopard (Panthera pardus) female sleeping at den in tree, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
Leopard (Panthera pardus) female climbing to den in tree, Jao Reserve, Botswana
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00641809 Leopard (Panthera pardus) female climbing to den in tree, Jao Reserve, Botswana© Suzi Eszterhas
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