Patrick and Aubrey helped us dig a grave for the dogs. We buried them in the garden with their blankets, bowls, and any stuff we knew would be hard for us to look at in future.

Less than hour from the ordeal, and as we were still trying to compose ourselves, there stood One Eye in the driveway, probably back to find his food that was now buried. Now we knew we had a problem animal on our hands. We had always known the risks we faced having pets in the bush, but we now had to face the more brutal fact that we had a small child, who could just as easily be taken were fate to deal us another such hand on that or any other day. Jurie fired rifle warning-shots into the air close to the leopard, but he barely reacted, so desperate was he to claim his food. Within a short while he was back.
Jurie phoned Mike Rattray, owner of Mala Mala and chairman of the Sabi Sand Wildtuin executive committee, to get some advice. It was bad the dogs had been killed, and, since it was now clear there was a threat to human life, he reckoned we should get a licence from the Department of Nature Conservation to shoot the leopard in the event of his returning later for another go at retrieving his meat. The problem was that it was now after office hours and so there was no chance of getting a permit that day. Mike went out on a limb by faxing us his personal permission to shoot the leopard if it should return during the night.
It was just getting dark and we drove down to the staff village to fetch Zoë. At eighteen months of age she was too young to understand anything, even though her parents were shattered. Charl heard what had happened and came over from Chitwa to offer us support. He knew the dogs well and understood about our ten-year relationship with Bingo, and our six years with Doug. We got Zoë off to sleep at about eight o’clock, and thought things had quietened down for the night. Jurie and Charl decided they would take a quick drive around to see if the leopard was otherwise occupied elsewhere before Charl returned to Chitwa.
The boys had just left when I went down the passage to check on Zoë. The passage ran along the eastern length of the house, with windows onto the garden. All seemed quiet but as I was going back to the kitchen, I saw One Eye, with his unmistakable face standing outside on the lawn, less than ten meters away, watching me through the window! In sheer terror and with adrenalin pumping fast I went down on my hands and knees and crawled to the kitchen where the two-way radio was kept. I was almost too scared to stand up and use it where it lay on the counter top, but had to call Jurie and Charl to get back home as quickly as possible. By the time they arrived One Eye had gone. Even in my pregnant state I had to have a scotch to calm me down a bit.
About an hour or so later Campbell had arrived back from Djuma Bush lodge, but still no sign of One Eye. It was about ten o’clock when Charl suggested they should take another quick look around in the nearby bush. If nothing was happening he would go home. This time I refused to stay on my own, convinced the leopard would return as soon as he saw the vehicle leave. Campbell volunteered to stay with me. He sat on a chair in the passage with his rifle resting on the window frame, while I was positioned in the lounge, which being at an “L” angle afforded me a different perspective of the front garden. A short while later, as expected, One Eye appeared out of the darkness. From my viewpoint I watched him stretch up against the house, trying to smell and look inside. In a muffled loud whisper I asked Campbell whether he could get a shot. However, with the leopard on the same wall as Campbell was, he could not get a clear view past the window frame. I crawled back to the kitchen and again radioed Charl and Jurie. Just before their car pulled up I saw the leopard slink in the dim moonlight off towards the camp.
When the boys arrived Campbell told them in which direction to go to follow One Eye. Jurie and Charl caught up with him in the staff village and shot him twice, within a meter of the tap where Zoë and Anzan spent most of their playtime. As the guys lifted his body onto the vehicle they were horrified by his condition. His weight was a fraction of what it should have been for a leopard his size: almost immediately the parasites started scrambling off his patchy coat.
This ordeal caused me to reflect on the early days of our lives in the bush, and recall the first time we had seen One Eye. As a matter of fact it was just after he had won the territorial battle with another male in which very fight he had lost his eye, blood still being fresh on his cheek. Charl asked Jurie what he wanted to do with the body and, more specifically, the skin. Jurie decided that Charl should keep the skin, while he would keep the skull. Months later, when we got the skull back from the taxidermist in White River, we noticed that not only had One Eye lacked an eye, he also had two canine teeth missing as well. We estimated that he must have been about ten years old and had had a good life as a territorial male. His decline in condition – maybe as a result of his losing two canines – would certainly have made him inclined to pursue our dogs as an easy meal. His natural death had probably been imminent, but the series of losses experienced that day, those of the two dogs and of a leopard we had been showing our guests for years, was tragic in no uncertain terms.
The following evening, while closing up for the night, we heard the rasping cough-like call of a leopard. We hauled out the spotlight and shone it down the driveway. There was One Eye’s son, Three Spot, every bit as handsome as his father, spraying bushes and scent-marking the territory that would become his within a matter of weeks.

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Our African Way