No other African wild cat fascinates me more than the leopard…
Its smooth and elegant posture underlines its fulfilled beauty. The skillful and variable hunting techniques help her to be one of the most successful big cats.
I watch her hiding unnoticed very close to her prey and then attacking swiftly and surprisingly or hiding behind a rock waiting patiently for the right moment for a frontal attack. Although her most spectacular way to hunt is the attack from a tree. The leopard uses trees to hide its prey and for its own security. But also to await the animals passing by underneath and dropping for the lethal attack.
Another amazing aspect about that cat is her camel flash. She manages to almost melt with her surroundings. Curled up or climbing up to the highest branches, she is almost invisible in the trees. Many times did I spend hours looking for her, knowing she is there but not finding her….
Over the years I often wondered why I have the huge luck to be allowed to spend hours on end all alone with them in their natural habitat. They let me come close and gave me magical moments. A special bond between them and I formed and I found my identification through this marvelous animal!
I started copying their way of hiding, e.g. by covering my jeep with branches in order to get as close as possible to the animal in mind. Training on the leopard’s patient and calm awaiting the animals started to see me as part of nature and I could take pictures in a way that not only shows them naturally but without chasing or scaring them.
My admiration for the leopard kept growing steadily. I wanted to have something of this beautiful cat, but never a tooth or a claw, so I got my back tattooed as a leopard’s coat. Now I not only carry my love for the leopard in my heart but also on my skin.
I carry the tattoo as a symbol for all animals. They deserve our respect and I will meet them with such for the rest of my life!