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Title: Intimate Perspective
Location: Erindi, Namibia, 2018
Interior stories told,
Such is the honest gaze of a Leopard.
With a specially designed remote camera trap, we’ve been able to capture unfamiliar shades of this wild female’s personality at the Erindi in Namibia.
Over the years at Erindi, the researchers for the Global Leopard Project have followed the life of this one particular Leopard. And at every turn, she’s taught us something new about how Leopards behave in the wild. Allowing us to get closer than ever before without impacting her behaviors, she’s surprised us on many, many occasions.
Her name is Honey. And she’s unknowingly helped to shed light on the mysterious behavior of Leopards. Their habits, territories, and movements. All in an effort to better manage the relationships with farmers in Namibia (the danger) and educate them on how to live side by side with predators rather than try to kill them.
On this particular afternoon, I remember it quite clearly. We had tried 6 times to place the box ahead of her on a path. She was out on the move, so we figured it would be fairly straightforward. Since she likes to take the well-trodden game paths, it seemed likely that if we put the box in her path, she’d notice it and walk right up to it. We could then photograph her genuine curiosity as she approached and inspected the unfamiliar object.
But she’s was all too clever for our plans. Each time she would walk towards the box, but at the last moment, as if she knew our intentions, she’d slip out of view and dash around to the side of it. She’d inspect the box from every angle, excluding the side with the camera lens.
But we kept trying. And again, and again she would dodge our attempts, slowly growing more comfortable with the box she continued to study it. It wasn’t until just after the sun finally set and the sky was turning pale blue did she finally give us a look into the lens. It was almost as if she was working up to it. Maybe she was timid at first to have her photograph taken so close up. She was certainly no stranger to telephoto lenses. We’ve been photographing her for the better part of nearly a decade. I just don’t think she’d ever seen a wide-angle lens before and maybe she was self-conscious. Who knows.
Anyway, we’ve tried to photograph Honey several more times with the box and every other attempt has not been successful. She only gave us one brief look. A few frames of a side of herself never seen before and never to be seen again.
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