By Ben Cranke.
We were on a Tusk Photo tour at Elephant Plains Game Lodge in the Kruger National Park and spent some time following and photographing a young female leopard called Ingrid. At one point, a beanbag was dropped from one of our vehicles. Ingrid sat close by, staring at the beanbag…. eventually crawling forward on her belly to retrieve the bag lying next to the vehicle. She pulled it closer with her claws, grabbed it in her mouth, and ran off with her prize at full speed.
We followed behind hoping to retrieve the beanbag as soon as possible, but Ingrid had other ideas and ran into a Tamboti thicket and then scaled a tree with the beanbag, still in her mouth.
All we could see was the branches of the tree moving as she jumped about inside the tree with the beanbag, having huge amounts of fun. Eventually, we decided to leave and come back that afternoon to look for the bag. When we did Ingrid, was still in the same tree with the beanbag, batting it about like it was a mouse.
Suddenly, she dropped the bag onto the ground and immediately descended to collect it, before walking into the Tamboti thicket again. About 30 minutes later, she emerged… without the bag. We waited for her to saunter off before collecting the intact, but battle scarred badger beanbag.