Leopards are experts when it comes to staying hidden, but there was really no need for this big cat to be so shy in front of the camera.
German wildlife photographer Ingo Gerlach, who has almost 40 years experience, captured the impressive shot at the Maasai Mara game reserve in Kenya.
But can you spot the leopard? Your eyes may be immediately drawn to the unlucky impala hanging from the tree branches, but take a closer look and you’ll spot the hidden killer.
The hungry leopard can be seen climbing up the tree trunk to retrieve its dinner, left high in the branches to stop rivals from stealing its food.
“Mostly I'm in Europe and in Kenya. This results in images that are unique. And that is saying something in today's flood of images,” Gerlach explains on his website [translated].
Astudy published in the Journal of Animal Ecology in April examined in further detail why leopards hoist their food into trees.
“Leopards exhibit a unique form of short-term food caching, regularly hoisting, storing and consuming prey in trees,” researchers explained.
“Leopards hoisted 51% of kills. They were more likely to hoist kills of an intermediate size ... and in response to the presence of some competitors.”
They said the prey was most likely to be eaten by hyaenas if left on the ground, using data from 2032 prey items killed by 104 leopards from 2013 to 2015.