We were driving around in a minibus during an afternoon safari when we came to a halt at a crossroad. There were plenty of deer grazing and lot of monkeys atop the trees around us. From the corner of my eye, I saw a large animal suddenly jump out of the bushes about 40 feet away from us, with cat-like reflexes. It grabbed hold of a deer and jumped back into the bushes.
Before I could tell the guests anything, all the animals around us went into a maddening frenzy, giving non-stop alarm calls. The combined chorus of the Hanuman Langurs, Bonnet Macaques, Spotted Deer and the lone female Sambar was simply deafening.


The Forest in a Frenzy?

The female Sambar walked in the direction that the cat had disappeared (into the bushes) and after sniffing, stepped into the bushes. From the movement of the plants, we could tell she was fighting something.

Moments later, a Leopard jumped onto a tree and a Sambar fawn ran out of the bushes. The injured fawn fell down to the ground after running a few paces.

Sambar-female, Kabini

Sambar with Her Fawn

The alarm calls went on continuously for another 20 minutes. The animals kept staring into the bushes, which meant the Leopard was still there. In a desperate attempt to seize its ‘prize’, the Leopard came out of the bushes once again and tried to grab the helpless (and probably dead) fawn, but the bold mother Sambar once again scared the Leopard that leaped onto a tree.

By this time it was dark and we had to leave as it was nearly closing time. So we never got to know what eventually happened to the fawn, but we knew that we had witnessed an extremely rare wildlife event!