Olive was one of the most beautiful leopards I have ever seen. When you talk about wildlife, it may be difficult to distinguish one leopard from another, but when you are used to seeing the same one, it is not that difficult to distinguish them. So, it was unmistakable seeing Olive under the shade of one of the trees near the camp where she called ‘home’ with her two cubs. It was a tremendous high. Seeing a leopard on safari is often very difficult, but seeing one with cubs is extraordinarily difficult. But two years in a row, I was fortunate enough to see her and her cubs around the same vicinity.
In September 2013, I was in Kenya, on safari, when I HEARD the news. Olive was found dead. It is believed from the injuries sustained by Olive that she was maimed and killed by a lion. Lions and leopards are mortal enemies, and on this date the result of that rival relationship between the two became clearly evident. Olive lives on through her several surviving cubs as they roam the Maasai Mara of Kenya.
Most of the guides in that area knew Olive. It seemed everyone knew Olive, and even guests on safari knew Olive. She was a pretty famous leopard as it goes. Olive, who like her mother, Bella, was one of the stars of Big Cat Diary.
Many of the guides in Africa followed Olive from the time she was born in 2000, through the birth of her 7 cubs over those thirteen years. There is no doubt that Olive was a star leopard. Olive was, to the guides who followed and studied her, like any other ‘pet’; a member of the family. I’m sure they were devastated to hear of Olive’s death as were Jonathan Scott and his film crew, who had been filming in Kenya for many years. They kept up with Olive and followed her journey intimately.
The two guides who followed Olive most were also featured with Jonathan Scott on Big Cat Diary. It was a sad day in Kenya for all the guides when they discovered that Olive had been killed. Word spread like wild fire and though I head the news when I was in Kenya, my inbox was flooded with messages when I returned home, to tell me of the sudden and tragic death of Olive. Rest in Peace, dear Olive – you will be missed!
Click Here to watch the video that I was privileged to take of Olive during one of my safari trips.
I’m sure we’ve all lost our beloved pets. Care to share some of your memories?