The Unlikely Leopard
A film by Beverly and Dereck Joubert
Narrated by Jeremy Irons
This is the story of a little male leopard from a few weeks of age to his eventual coming of age
and overcoming of his clumsiness and youthful mistakes.
This HD film is a coming of age story of a young male leopards who as a character wins
audiences over with his clumsy, teenager antics, his inability to do things that most leopards
should be able to do; like climb trees and hold on it his kill, and his strong bond with his mother.
We follow him from when he is a few weeks old to when he has to move away from his mother
and off into the wide world, living on his instinct and adapting to his oversized paws and lack of
experience. This leopard has a distinct personality.
This film by the filmmakers and conservationists who brought you Emmy Awarded ‘Eye of the
Leopard” and “The Last Lions,” Dereck and Beverly Joubert, follows an awkward and often
comical young male leopard from when he is just a few weeks old until he ventures out on his
own and makes his fist significant kill. It’s a coming of age story of a young male reluctant to
‘leave home’ where food and companionship arrive at his feet every few days from a diligent and
tolerant mother. He gets up to mischief when left alone and, as the filmmakers follow, the story
of that strange crossroads we all confront is seen as a parallel in animal life. He is gangly, doesn’t
particularly like climbing trees and is winning the race against time, to grow as large as possible
before being thrown out of the ‘nest.’ He is huge for his age, bigger than his mother, when finally
when her mate comes back, he has to venture out. Set in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.
Even then, the young male is unprepared and blunders every opportunity to hunt, and stumbles
around the forest. One day, finally up in a tree, he falls asleep, deeply, and is surprised out of his
dreams and nearly falls out of the tree when a herd of impala wander directly underneath him.
At last the young male we all want to survive finds his niche in the world, but as the film
concludes we understand that he is just one of 50,000 now, and safe from persecution.
At the height of the previous fashion wave of leopard skin envy, 250,000 were killed for their
coats. There is a new wave of desire emerging, but in Botswana, this year, the government
banned all leopard hunting; the first country in 34 years to do so.
Duration: 50 or 52 mins
Produced by Wildlife Films Botswana for National Geographic Channels