Unlikely Alliance in the Wild: Male Gazelle’s Heroic Act Saves Rival from Ambushing Leopard in a Daring Showdown

Leopard bites off more than it can chew: Brave antelope somehow escapes surprise attack from big cat

Never let them see you coming. That’s the unofficial motto of all predators. But the tactic didn’t work for this big cat when he tried to bring down an antelope apparently busy in a fight with another male.

The red lechwe had just spent ten minutes locking horns with a rival in the Okavango Delta area of Botswana when the leopard, judging the moment was right to pick off a weakened target, pounced.

Thomas Nkwazi took these photos while on a morning drive. ‘At one point the antelope was running with the leopard hanging under its throat before it dropped it down,’ he said. ‘The lechwe was too big and strong, and after the battle the leopard was limping on its left front leg. The antelope had some scratches and a bit of a cut on the shoulder, which I think was from the fight with the other lechwe.’

Surprise attack: A sneaky leopard leapt onto a gazelle as the animal was in the midst of fighting a rival

Two against one: The male lechwe suddenly found himself going from fighting for supremacy to fighting for his life in the savannah

Softly, softly, catchy lechwe: The leopard creeps up on the fighting pair in the Okavango Delta area of Botswana

Attack from both sides: The leopard pounced on his prey just as the hapless lechwe was in the midst of locking horns with another male

Already things are going wrong… The leopard appears to be clinging onto the lechwe’s rump for dear life as the fight continues

Fight for survival: The lechwe, realising he’s beset by enemies, starts taking evasive action to keep himself alive

Time to run! The leopard clambers out of the way just in time as the other lechwe gears up to butt his rival in the rear end

Down: The combination of the leopard round his neck and a rival lechwe to his rear sends the plucky antelope tumbling

Struggle: Content perhaps that he’s won this round, the rival lechwe disappears – leaving our hero brawling alone with the big cat

Could this be the end: It appears as though the leopard has got the upper hand as the lechwe is rolled over onto his shoulders

Not quite! The animal struggles to his feet. A witness said the leopard left with her tail between her legs

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