Tracy Lee Stark

By Tracy Lee Stark

Photographer and Multimedia Producer

WATCH: Jackal hunting birds hunted by enterprising leopard

The jackal knew he was in trouble and had no chance.

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In this unexpected moment, a leopard catches a jackal that is busy hunting a flock of doves. This unbelievable sighting unraveled in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Digital marketing strategist and wildlife enthusiast, Bertie van Greunen, and his wife, Ria, witnessed this amazing scene and shared their story with

“Early morning on the 19 June 2022, on our last day at Polentswa, we were woken up by a cheetah call and decided to take a drive. We saw the cheetah on the ridge, but never got a clear view so after 20 minutes we decided to go to the waterhole where two jackals had been very entertaining – as we had come to learn over our trip.”

According to the couple, it was a beautiful morning when they turned onto the road towards the Polentswa waterhole. What happened next was truly one of those moments when heart starts pumping at a rate as if you were doing a marathon.

“We both spotted the leopardess called Olebeli at the same time. We slowly drove in and she was sitting upright, looking towards a herd of springboks that were just leaving the waterhole. And of course, the many doves that come and go to drink water. The daily ritual then began where the two jackals started stalking the doves,” said Bertie van Greunen.

The doves came in for a landing, and the two jackals prepared for an interception in hopes of enjoying an early breakfast. What they didn’t know was that another hunter’s menu looked very different from theirs. One of the jackals made a few attempts while Olebeli was lying in the grass. The jackal had another go and jumped, but whilst air-born Olebeli took off at the same time and there was nothing he could do to escape.

He was helpless in the air and the timing of the leopard was spot on. The jackal knew he was in trouble and had no chance.

The other jackal jumped up and down, and alarm-called but there was nothing he could do. Olebeli grabbed the jackal by the throat and took off with her catch. I quickly switched on the vehicle and reversed like crazy to get into the main road to see if viewers could still catch a glimpse of her and her prey.

“We saw her crossing the road as predicted then she jumped up onto the side of the road and looked back at us one last time, while holding onto the jackal. Sadly, that was the end of the jackal. Driving back to our campsite in Polentswa, we could not believe what we just experienced.

“Later that afternoon, we went back to the waterhole and saw the jackal’s friend was still looking for him and which brought some tears to both my wife and me. It was such a unique sighting, but very emotional at the same time and perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. This is for sure an experience my wife and I will never forget. That’s why we keep on going back and have done so for the last 10 plus years,” the couple said.

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