By Mark McConville
THIS ONE-EYED leopard’s wound looks reminiscent of Scar from The Lion King but it clearly hasn’t weakened his hunting skills as he proudly displays his kill.
Stunning pictures show the leopard relaxing on a tree branch with his fresh kill as he licks his lips and begins to tuck in.
Other incredible images show a close-up of the leopards face with a gaping wound all that’s left of his right eye which appears to have been scratched out.
The remarkable photographs were taken in Tarangire National Park in Tanzania by photographer Holger W Grauel (49).
“It was a rather cold morning in the Tarangire National Park in Tanzania as we headed out on our first game drive of the day,” he said.
“The animals were not very active, so I didn’t expect to see any sort of extraordinary sighting.
“As we were driving through the park, enjoying the fabulous landscape, we approached a single tree and from a distance I could spot something hanging down from it.
“Upon closer inspection we realised it was a leopard with its kill – a great sighting for us. However, even more of a surprise was that this leopard only had one eye.
“It is not clear how the leopard was injured, but looking closely through my camera lens I could see that the eye had been scratched out.
“The wound looked quite bad, and it probably wasn’t too long ago that it was injured. But, I was happy in the fact that the leopard had its kill up in the tree, meaning that it is still able to effectively hunt and is able to survive despite this handicap.
“So, the question remains: was the leopard injured by another leopard? Or maybe by another predator like a lion?”
Leopards are active mainly from dusk till dawn and rest for most of the day and for some hours at night in thickets, among rocks or over tree branches.
Leopards are known for their ability to climb and have been observed resting on tree branches during the day, dragging their kills up trees and hanging them there, and descending from trees headfirst.
Holger explained that while he was happy to spot such a rare sighting he was left feeling pity for the poor leopard.
“I’m not really sure if I love the images of the Leopard with the handicap – actually, I fee sorry for it,” he said.
“Well, it’s an extraordinary image which can’t be seen often. I prefer to see and photograph animals in their best healthy conditions.
“My favourites are leopards so, I always search for them when I’m on safari but it isn’t easy to spot those ghosts.”