Strategic predator: The leopard that uses a baby monkey as bait to attract its adult prey, abandoned by its group, faces a heartbreaking fate. Did the leopard achieve its goal?

A keen wildlife photographer has captured the rare moment a leopard used a baby vervet monkey as bait in a bid to attract larger adults.

Leopard carries the carcass of a female vervet monkey with its baby still hanging on : r/natureismetal

Thomas Retterath, from Germany, documented the scenes, in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, in which the big cat played with the small primate.

No adult monkey took the bait, and when Thomas and his tour group had to leave to take flight, the baby monkey was still alive and in the leopard’s care.

Amateur wildlife photographer Thomas Retterath from Germany captured the moment a leopard used a cute baby vervet monkey as bait in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Pictured: The leopard crouches behind the baby monkey, who appears unaware of the potential danger he is in. The leopard’s spots camouflage it against the background, hiding from its prey.

El leopardo intentaba atraer a otros monos más grandes con su cría, con la esperanza de que realizaran un atrevido intento de rescate. Durante el tiempo que observó al leopardo, Retterath dijo que ningún mono mordió el anzuelo. En la imagen: el leopardo parece detectar al fotógrafo, mirándolo directamente mientras toma fotografías desde la distancia.

Photographer Retterath explained: “It had rained that morning and the safari was uneventful. Suddenly, our guide heard complaints and cries of monkeys in the bush. Leopards in the wild are a rare sighting

Spotted: A leopard’s camouflage and tendency to stay hidden while stalking its prey makes seeing them in the wild a rare event. Some leopards are considered vulnerable, with some variants classified as extremely endangered by wildlife conservation groups. Their fur makes them a prime target for hunters who covet their spotted fur.

‘Instead of killing the baby quickly, the cat played with it. From time to time, the cat would let go of the little one, but a short time later it would harass him again,” said Retterath. “The behavior was very similar to that of a house cat hunting a mouse.” In the photo: The leopard watches while the monkey plays on a fallen branch, patiently waiting for potential prey.

Leopards are often confused with the similar-looking jaguar, coming from the same genus, but are distinguished by their smaller structure, smaller “rosettes” (or spots) that are more densely grouped.

Retterath said he watched the jaguar for 30 minutes, but during that time “none of the monkeys became arrogant.” The group left the “crime scene” to take the flight home. “The cat hadn’t killed the monkey yet,” he said. Pictured: The money appears to be trying to escape, but the leopard stalks it while the baby crawls along the branch.

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