I haven’t ever been on a safari personally, but I bet if I ever do make it on one then there’s no way that I would manage to capture a photograph as incredible as the one that Abhishek Pangis managed to snap on his first ever safari.
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Pangis was on a two-day safari trip with his parents in Tadoba Reserve in western Maharashtra state, India when he stumbled across the legendary black leopard which has very rarely been photographed. Initially he was too starstruck to take any photographs, but after a couple of minutes he was able to reach into his pocket and pull out his camera to take the incredible shots that you seen on this page.
Here’s what he had to say about his experience:
I went blank when I spotted it. I hadn’t seen anything so beautiful, I was completely stunned and came back to my senses after 10 minutes and started clicking pictures.
Usually people have seen it around for two or three minutes but I was very lucky as I could see it for 40 minutes. I witnessed it drinking water from a pond, marking its territory and stalking langurs and monkeys. It was a brilliant experience.
We saw him in peak summer of June last month when it was 40-45 degrees of extreme heat, as there is more chance of the wild cats coming out for water. At one point, this leopard, who should be four years old, even walked past our jeep. It was a surreal moment.
I knew there are black leopards but I was very lucky to have spotted it during my first safari trip.
Professional wildlife photographers spend millions and several months to catch a glimpse of such rare animals.
There were 10-15 safari jeeps but they left when they did not see the leopard and just three or four safari jeeps stayed with us. None of them had a camera so when it came out in the open, it was just me who had the camera and could take its pictures.
I mean the guy should probably just give up on safaris right now because I don’t think that anything he could ever see or do on one of them is going to top this. I guess some people might say that it’s beginner’s luck that he snapped the black leopard on his first safari, but others might say it’s a curse because he’ll be searching for that high for the rest of his life and never be able to achieve it. It’s a cruel mistress.
For more of the same, check out this leopard terrorising people in India and completely scalping one guy. Very intense.