About this book
Almost everyone on safari hopes for a glimpse of the charismatic and elusive leopard. Chui was the first of a new generation of leopards Jonathan Scott watched and photographed in Kenya's Masai Mara Game Reserve in the 1970s and 1980s. He spent every available moment watching and photographing Chui and her cubs, Light and Dark, aware that he was only privileged to do so for as long as they chose to remain visible. His classic account tells the story of the mother leopard as a solitary hunter providing for herself and her offspring. He records encounters with baboon, hyaena and man, hazards facing the cubs as they learn to fend for themselves and periods of play and relaxation. Some years after Chui disappeared, a young female appeared, Half-Tail. Jonathan and Angela have followed her and her daughter Zawadi, stars of the BBC's Big Cat Diary, for the past twenty years, bringing the story up to date. Nobody has studied leopards more closely or known them more intimately
Jonathan says: 'The update is based on our work with Half-Tail and Zawadi from both the pictures and text perspective – Angie worked with us on Big Cat Diary as the stills photographer from 1996 and before that we both worked with Half-Tail from the time she first appeared around Leopard Gorge and Fig Tree Ridge – our kids grew up on safari with Half-Tail and Zawadi as stars of their own Mara adventures.'
About the author
Jonathan and Angela Scott are award winning wildlife and travel photographers, and the only couple to have won as individuals the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award. Jonathan Scott's television presence has blossomed since his early days as a presenter on American television. He has presented his own television series for the BBC, including Big Cat Diary and has also presented wildlife stories for Wild Things, an American television series.
Foreword by Simon King vii
Preface to the 2013 Edition ix
1 The Birth of the Cubs 10
2 The Predators’ Kingdom 30
3 Chui’s Competitors 54
4 Waiting for the Rains 67
5 The Leopard Family 86
6 Instinct and Experience 108
7 Struggling for Food 132
8 Growing Independence 156
9 The Leopard’s Future 175
10 Epilogue 1: The Paradise Female 185
11 Epilogue 2: Half-Tail’s Legacy 201
Authors’ and Photographers’ Note 219
'In wonderful photographs and prose, here is an account that, because of new challenges to leopard populations as much as the observational difficulties, few are likely to replicate.' Conde Nast Traveller
'The authors certainly convey inexhaustible enthusiasm and an undimmed sense of wonder at the natural world.'
Good Book Guide
'The new final third of the book, which whisks through the leopard dynasty chronicled by Big Cat Diary, is compelling'
BBC Wildlife Magazine