In the heart of Botswana’s spectacular Moremi National Park, three leopards are forced to share an uneasy coexistence. This area is prime leopard real estate and the epicentre of a game-rich region of the Okavango Delta where ancient trees offer these supreme hunters good refuge and great cover.
‘Leopards of Dead Tree lsland’ takes us on an unforgettable HD journey following the lives of these three leopards. Mosweo is a young mother who gave birth to two cubs during the abundance of summer. She is typically solitary by nature and takes on parenthood alone. Will she be able to rear and defend her cubs in this challenging environment, competing with lions and hyenas and coping with floods and drought? Buddah, the dominant male leopard of Dead Tree Island is the father of Mosweo’s cubs, but he gives her no support or protection. To further complicate matters, Tipa, Mosweo’s previous offspring, still shares her mother’s territory, competing for food and posing a potential threat to the new set of young Tipa cubs. Tipa is now an independent three year old moving dangerously close to his mother’s new den site. He is an insider that Mosweo has tolerated but, with the arrival of the new cubs, he’s become an adversary who needs to be dealt with.
Tipa has come of age in his father’s territory. Buddah’s large size and damaged ears allude to his age and stature. He struts through his territory with confidence and entitlement, fighting off the most irritating of rivals — baboons. Tipa’s efforts to hunt and assert his own authority are clumsy and naive in comparison. Because the island covers the natural hunting grounds of these secretive cats, they are drawn together by circumstances beyond their control, leading to tension, drama and ultimately tragedy. Mosweo loses one cub to a predator and then finds the last of her litter mysteriously paralysed and dying. In a deeply moving scene, she tries everything in her power to comfort and revive her doomed offspring — but to no avail.
To compound Mosweo’s misery, Buddah’s attention strays towards an exciting smell: a strong female has made her way into his territory. Mosweo tries desperately to divert Buddah’s attention away from the new rival, but the female is in estrus and mates with the dominant male, thereby finding her own place among the leopards of Dead Tree Island. The contrasting environments of Moremi provides uniquely beautiful backdrop as the drama unfolds.
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