Koos Fourie from Vanderbijlpark Photographic Society just won himself R100 000 in the annual SABC 50/50 Veldfokus competition with this series of images he captured in the Kruger National Park between Skukuza and Lower Sabie.
Koos says: “We were travelling in KNP between Skukuza and Lower Sabie. We saw three warthogs running in the road ahead of us. I decided to stop to take a picture of them. I parked my vehicle a little skew in the road, opened the window and focussed on the biggest warthog. When I pushed the shutter of my camera I heard a noise and thought it was the little ones fighting with one other!
Soon I realised there was a different colour in my viewfinder. It was a leopard! My camera was fortunately set on high speed continuous shooting. There was a lot of action and when the leopard jumped on one of the little warthogs the other two warthogs ran past my car. I thought I was going to see a kill!
The next moment the mother came running from behind my vehicle at full speed, dropped her head and hit the leopard in the ribcage. She turned around and hit the leopard again – so hard that the leopard dropped the warthog she had caught. The mother chased the leopard from the road into a culvert next to the road. The warthogs then ran away! The leopard snarled at me, run past the front of my vehicle and disappeared into the bush.
I took several shots (some out of focus – as the action was very fast as the animals were moving from the one side of the road to the other and backwards and forward as well) but I have a series of images to show the sequence of events. All the action happened in +-60 sec. It was only my family and I in my car who saw what happened. When the next vehicle passed us a few minutes later all the action was over.