Before we set off on our afternoon safari, I decided to go to an area in which they had spotted our old “warrior” of a leopard. Even though leopards generally move around a lot, I decided to try my luck so that maybe my guests would get a chance to see the infamous “Big 5”.

We went to the area and found some fresh tracks. As we followed them, we bumped into one of the other rangers who had also been following up on this elusive animal. So we decided to help each other in the area. The tracks went into the bush so our trackers got off the vehicle to see where they were going. When they came back, they said they had found something.

We went into quite a thick area, going over bushes and dodging branches. The guests were enjoying this excitement and knew they would see something great. Finally, we found him – we call him Klara. He is an old leopard who has a broken foot, is blind in his right eye, and has lost a lot of his fur on his face, yet he is still standing. Many of our rangers have thought he would not last much longer.

Nevertheless, we found him on a wildebeest kill that he had made, regardless of all his fallbacks. This is a reminder of how strong this leopard really is and also a life lesson – no matter how tough things may become or how much one hurts, you can stay strong.

So we will never know how long this leopard will be around but we do know that he is definitely a warrior and will not give up on his life for as long as he can. Klara is truly an animal that is respected and appreciated by many.

Kim Pretorius – River Lodge

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