Leopards do not preferentially favour baboons as prey, but they are considered the
primary predators of baboons across Africa. Even in areas where baboons are abundant,
their contribution to leopard diet seldom exceeds 5% of biomass. It is suggested that
the extreme aggressiveness of baboons, group vigilance and their high mobility when
escaping may limit leopard predation. Male baboons are particularly aggressive, and
retaliation often leads to the death of the leopard. However, evidence suggests that
leopards may learn to catch and kill certain dangerous prey. This study reports predation
on chacma baboons by 3 female leopards on a private game reserve in the Waterberg
Mountains of South Africa. Potential leopard feeding sites were identified using
global positioning system (GPS) location clusters obtained from GPS collars. Over a
5-month period, we investigated 200 potential leopard feeding sites and located 96
leopard feeding/kill sites. Baboons constituted 18.7% of the leopards’ biomass intake.
The majority of baboons preyed upon were adults and 70% of the kills were diurnal. In
terms of the measured variables, there were no significant differences in the way the
leopards preyed upon baboons, compared to the rest of the prey species.