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Whiskers Away: Couple Escapes Hungry Leopard Inside Roof Tent

Image by Gavin Allderman via Facebook

It was dusk in Botswana’s Mabuasehube Game Reserve, surrounded by nothing but bushveld and wildlife, when Jill and Gavin Alderman were pounced by an opportunistic leopard. The result? Several cuts, a bloody tent, and presumably, a renewed appreciation for life.

Moments before experiencing the fight of their lives, at around 1:30 a.m., motion light sensors alerted the movements of a big cat meandering through the campsite. Seemingly more astonished then alarmed, they thought nothing off it, expecting it to march onwards in due course.

Curious and eager to spot it in-person, Jill peeked her head out of the tent before peering down and spotting a leopard scaling up the car’s ladder; after which, she quickly zipped the tent, and the sparring match began.

With the leopard attempting to claw it’s way in, Jill counterattacked with books and pillows, while her husband believes he punched (using his bare knuckles) the feline over 30 times, resulting in multiple cuts, painting the tent bloody in the process — like the aftermath of a UFC fight.

Image by Gavin Allderman via Facebook

Trapped inside a roof tent while only inches away from razor sharp teeth, they escaped narrowly, separated only by polyester, a thin material not renowned for keeping predators at bay. It had all the elements to be fatal, but their intuition and bravery ensured otherwise.

During the ordeal, both shouted relentlessly at the top of their lungs to scare it away, as you would with an ape. Still, the big cat seemed unfazed, suggesting it had been desperately hungry, an alarming trend growing amongst the animal kingdom.

Image by Gi0572 via Depositphotos

When it comes to food, they prefer buck and baboons, only attacking humans as a last resort (thankfully, we aren’t the tastiest). Centuries, even decades ago, whether in Africa or America, animal populations thrived, zebras roamed in the hundreds of thousands and wildebeests could be spotted as far as the eye could see — a successful hunt was almost inevitable.

Nowadays, the populations of prey like springbok and guinea fowl are a fraction of what they once where, insinuating that the challenge for survival, across the food chain, has become greater.

There are several factors contributing to this downfall: rising temperatures, poaching, a booming meat industry and a capitalist culture thriving off fur and entrails. And we haven’t even mentioned the mass deforestation dismantling the worlds biggest rainforests — some ecosystems referred to as the lungs of the world. The food chain has become unbalanced, igniting a significant decline in animal populations, causing most, like leopards, to adopt desperate measures for survival.

Image by Gavin Allderman via Facebook

Although they and other felines could easily ambush and kill humans, it doesn’t happen often. Compared to sharks and snakes, it hardly occurs, which is why safaris like Mabuasehube Game Reserve allow visitors to camp within its grounds. But that doesn’t mean it’s safe, precautions are insisted.

Remarkably, the couple saw out the remainder of their stay — five days to be exact — which, they believe, allowed them to process the tribulation, ensuring their passion for the bush, where Gavin has been in and out of for the last 42 years, remained intact.

Image by VitalikRadko via Depositphotos

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