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Watch: Impala vs Leopard High-Speed Chase

The Impala's High-Speed Chase With A Leopard
The Impala's High-Speed Chase With A Leopard

Near daily a centuries-old race is run: an impala against a leopard. But who typically wins these races? In this article, we discuss our two competitors. Read to the end to watch the video!

Comparison: Impala vs Leopard 

ImpalaLeopard
Speed55 mph (88 km/h)36 mph (58 km/h)
AdaptabilityWell-adapted to open grasslands and can sustain high speeds for long distancesHighly adaptable to various habitats, including forests, grasslands, and mountains
Body StructureSlender and lightweight body built for speed, with long legs and a streamlined formAgile and muscular body designed for bursts of speed, with a compact and robust build
Hunting StyleRelies on its speed to escape predators and evade pursuitCombination of stealth, strength, and bursts of speed to ambush and bring down prey
Prey PreferencePrimarily grazes on grasses and occasionally consumes leaves and shootsOpportunistic hunter that preys on a wide range of animals, including small to large mammals
Ecological RoleConsidered a keystone herbivore, playing a crucial role in shaping grassland ecosystemsTop predator in its ecosystem, regulating prey populations and maintaining the ecological balance
Conservation StatusLeast ConcernVulnerable or Endangered, depending on the spp.

The Impala

impala
Two male black faced impala photographed in Namibia. Image by LuaAr via Depositphotos

Impalas are beautiful and graceful antelope that are native to in southern and eastern Africa. Impala may be herbivores, but they can reach impressive speeds using their powerful legs specifically to outrun and outlast predators.

Impala can reach staggering speeds of 60 mph, which firmly secures their place among Africa’s fastest animals. Further, impalas are incredibly agile and can make quick, rapid turns to evade predators. 

The Leopard

Leopard
Leopard resting on a branch. Image by Pixabay via Pexels

Leopards are masters of stealth and ambushing. Leopard species can be found in many parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. They come equipped with sharp retractable claws, powerful jaws, spotty camouflage, and keen senses of smell and sight.

Furthermore, leopards employ various hunting strategies, including stalking their prey to making seemingly spontaneous opportunistic attacks. They typically pounce on unsuspecting victims, especially from higher up, like on a branch, or sometimes they chase their prey. They are keystone species in ecosystems because they regulate populations of prey and exert selective pressure on their habitats.

Preparing For The High-Speed Chase – What You’ll Need

Amur leopard
Amur leopard yawning. Image by mihail1981 via Depositphotos

You will need a few things out on your safari:

  • A good pair of binoculars
  • Comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes
  • A camera with a fast shutter speed is optimal for capturing a high-speed animal chase
  • Plenty water and sun block
  • Awareness of your surroundings – anything can happen at any moment 

Tracking Animals

impala
Impala. Image by Harvey Sapir via Pexels

Game rangers come well-equipped with knowledge on how to track and find animals like impalas and leopards; they use several clues, including track marks and droppings. It’s always best to go searching for animals with an experienced guide. Not only are wild animals typically skittish, but they can be dangerous – even antelope, like impala, can seriously hurt an encroaching person.

The Ancient African Hunting Tradition Of Chasing A Leopard

Leopard
Wild Leopard in the tropical African savanna

There is an ancient African hunting tradition whereby hunters chase down a leopard to kill it. This is a tradition carried out by the Hadza people, who are modern hunter-gatherers living in northern Tanzania. This tradition has been passed down for countless generations and is a rite of passage for young members of the tribe.

The hunt involves locating a leopard’s den and driving the leopard into the open grasslands, where they chase the leopard on foot while wielding spears for protection. The goal is to tire the animal out enough to capture it alive.

The tribe members then use spears and makeshift tools to subdue the leopard once it’s too tired to put up a fight. The tribe will make use every part of the leopard.

Despite the dangers involved, it remains an important part of this African culture.

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Wrapping Up

YouTube video
Impala miraculously escapes jaws of leopard, YouTube, BBC Earth

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