A wildlife photographer captured incredible photos of a leopard and black panther couple. This was the first time “The Eternal Couple” was photographed together. India-based photographer Mithun H captured the remarkable shot in “the beautiful jungles of Kabini, Karnataka, India.”
Mithun posted the photos of Saaya, the panther, and Cleopatra, the leopard, on Instagram on 19 July. He has been following the animals for years but this is the first time he was able to photograph them together.
He wrote the caption, “Saaya and Cleopatra have been courting since 4 years now and whenever they are together it’s a sight to behold. The forest comes alive as they trot nonchalantly in his fabled kingdom. Usually in the courting pairs generally it is the Male who takes charge and moves around with the female following close behind. But with this couple it was definitely Cleo who was in charge while the Panther followed. This was shot on a surreal winter morning when a single Deer alarm led me to this breathtaking sight.”
His photos now have thousands of likes and comments. People from all over commented on the beauty of the leopard and black panther couple.
Furthermore, Mithun told The Koala, “The female Cleopatra has been a heartthrob of Kabini since 2009. Have followed her for 12 years now ever since she was a tiny cub. The Panther entered our lives in 2014 as a sub adult shy cat trying to establish territory. It was only in 2016 when he finally asserted his dominance that he paired up with Cleo for the first time and I have followed their journey since. Have got them on camera quite a few times earlier when they would be together once a year for mating. But this recent one was special because of that perfect moment when they both turned together without a care in the world and the fact that so much patience and work had gone behind that image.”
Talking about the surreal experience, he also said, “I can still close my eyes and relive that moment every single day of my life. You don’t see that often. Probably a once in a lifetime opportunity. There was certainly a lot of waiting and patience that went behind.”
The photographer had to wait almost “6 days for this in the same spot since I could hear the Panther and Cleopatra mating about a 100 metres away in the thick undergrowth but could not see them due to limited visibility. They had made a large kill and would not move until it was over. That is where the knowledge and years of experience of following and tracking the Panther came in handy. I just had to wait at one of his favorite paths since that was the place he would get her since that was the edge of his territory, and this he did after 6 days.”
“It was a fruitful wait though. I could wait for 6 years for a moment like this,” Mithun concluded.