25th of September was a sad day in the Mara, one of the Talek leopards was no more. Known for her appearances in BBC’s Big Cat Diary, Leopard queen Olive is believed to have died from what are suspected to be lion bite marks and there seemed to have been a struggle before her death. The famous Mara leopard was born to Bella, another Big Cat star who already passed on and named after a certain Olive tree (Olea africana) which was her favorite resting spot. Olive is survived by seven offspring, who will carry her legacy. These are, in the order of birth; Binti & Ayah, Kali, Paja & Nkaiyoni, Bahati and Saba. She was expecting cub number eight upon her death.
Photo credit: Paul Kirui
For an in-depth look into Olive’s life, paul tells the story of a leopard he knew and admired so much, Leopard queen of Talek River .
The leopard queen of the Talek river will surely be missed by many of her admirers around the world.
March 2000 – September 2013
2 thoughts on “Tribute to Leopard Queen of Talek, Olive.”
I was lucky enough while out in the Masai Mara last year to witness Bahati hunt in the region of Intrepids Camp.
We arrived as she came down from a tree and then emerged from bushes by the track. As you can see from the video, she rolled in the dust and then appeared to spot gazelle nearby. Instantly her posture changed, she slunk down onto her haunches and crept into the long grass. It was amazing to see how low she could stay, and the stealth with which she moved. As she approached the oblivious gazelle, we watched on from the jeep, and despite standing and looking down at the scene, eventually we lost sight of her too in the grass. Such incredible camouflage when seen in their natural environment!
We waited patiently, holding our breaths, and with my camera trained on the gazelle. Minutes passed but we were all intently waiting and watching. Suddenly, as you see in the video, she exploded out of the grass and around the closest gazelle, who didn’t stand a chance, gripping it by the windpipe. Such speed and power was phenomenal to watch – you can see how I jumped on the video!
After her prey was subdued, Bahati paused to give us a few more photo opportunities and then dragged the gazelle off back to through the bushes. It made me realise how small a leopard is compared to some of the larger cats, as it seemed quite unwieldy for it. We watched it toy with its food in the bushes for a few minutes, and then it disappeared into thick bush (presumably back up a tree again – though sadly I didn’t get to witness that).
The whole event lasted about 15 or 20 minutes I should think, and I barely breathed through all of it. It felt a real privilege to be there to witness such a moment..
Hopefully you can enjoy the video and get a taste of the moment for yourself.
Thanks very much Safaricam for sharing the footage with us. So much thrill and anticipation, just waiting to see if she will succeed in catching the prey. Those few minutes felt like eternity especially when she totally camouflaged. such skill!!! poor gazelle though, busy eating not knowing it was to be his/her last meal. This only shows how quiet a hunter Bahati is especially since the gazelles didn’t even sense a thing. And then after getting her catch, Bahati stands there posing like “look at me now” lol so much excitement!! if only we would have experienced the moment too in its natural environment. Probably would have jumped too. Again, Thanks so much for sharing and happy travels.