Photographer Finds Himself Face-To-Face With Leopard Cub In The Wild


This is the astonishing moment a wildlife photographer found himself face-to-face with a curious leopard cub.

The cub wandered over to check out Dillon Nelson’s boot as he filmed a mother a daughter leopard.

The cub, who was only 10 months old at the time, was only inches away from the photographer leaving him sweating.

Nelson, who is a game ranger at the Sabi Sands Nature Reserve, South Africa, froze while the inquisitive leopard cub stared him down before letting off a defensive hiss.

Mr Nelson who was only 25 at the time said: “I work in the area as a game ranger or nature guide and take people out on safari and bush walks.”

At first the leopards are not bothered by the safari tourists and sit on a termite mound in Sabi Sands nature reserve, South Africa

“We were following a resident female leopard and her 10-month-old cub as they moved through a very dense monkey orange and bushwillow thicket.”

“She (the mother) was presumably taking the cub on a walkabout, teaching her some skills about hunting and stalking prey.”


Then the curious cub decides to get a closer look at Mr Nelson's boot, venturing away from its mother and moving just inches away from him

“The adult went up on to this termite mound to get a better look at her surroundings, with the youngster following right behind.”

“With the cub being quite young and inquisitive she came to investigate what my shoe might be, possibly thinking or hoping it was a scrub hare or squirrel.”

The cub nibbles on a blade of dried grass and seems to be in a non-threatening mood as it looks directly into the camera lens

Luckily, the cub seemed to be in a non-threatening mood while it nibbles on a blade of dry grass and stared directly into the cameras lens.


“I was quite nervous but more excited than anything else. It’s hard to describe how it felt during the sighting because I was trying to keep calm and take in what was happening.”

“As I saw her approaching I already knew it was too late for me to move. I thought I should just keep still and allow her to investigate.”

“She saw what she needed and then proceeded on her way. Definitely a thrilling experience, and one not many people get to have.”

Because the cub approached quickly Mr Nelson had no time to retreat back to his group

Usually in this scenario, Nelson would’ve retreated, but he couldn’t on this occasion since the cub approached him so suddenly.

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Written by Joe Kahlo

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