Buffalo Bath Water
Last night we were filming a young female leopard as she approached a small waterhole. Water is starting to become sparse as the drought takes hold and waterholes are become more dispersed here in the south east of Sri Lanka. Due to their strong territoriality leopards regularly drink from their local waterhole, so you can imagine the surprise of our young female when she discovered a huge water buffalo blissfully lying in the muddy remains of her drinking pool.
Far from being deterred she silently approached the buffalo and hid behind a tree until darkness fell. Then as the light failed she crept around behind him and started drinking. All we could see was the buffalo and the leopards tail raised in the air like a flag as she precariously balanced herself to drink from the waterhole. After a few moments the buffalo's eyes shot open as he realised that there was an intrusion into his bath water. Stomping out of the bath and dripping with ooze he chased the leopard around the waterhole and into a tree. Almost blind in the dark the buffalo then paraded around the waterhole, seemingly looking for the leopard before squelching off into the forest. The leopard meanwhile, coolly jumped out of the tree and resumed her drink in peace.
We are returning to the waterhole tonight to see if the leopard returns!
Thermal image of Buffalo and leopard: copyright ammonite