I have spent 20 years hunting wild animals in
the Sarawak jungles. The leopard is
one of the most unpredictable animals I have ever come across. A cunning animal,
it will change its direction for no obvious reason. Although I had faced
numerous encounters with ferocious creatures, none scared me the way the leopard
did, the day it attacked me.
On January 24, a goat was killed at a nearby
farm. Two weeks earlier, farmers had reported missing livestock. A leopard had
been seen around the area at dusk. On that very day, fifteen experienced men
volunteered to track it. Before the hunting party arrived, I went out to look
for the tracks. Without a thought, I left my rifle in the car and
was the worst mistake of my life. Unarmed, I was exposed to danger.
I stepped into the bushes where the goat was
killed. Suddenly, I sensed danger from behind. I looked around and there, under
a tree, all set to strike, was an adult leopard. I remembered my rifle and
turned back to my car to get it.
Then it happened. The leopard leapt onto my
back. I heard nothing when it hit me
as it happened very fast. The impact was enough to set me off balance. For
a moment I felt dizzy, as if the surroundings were spinning. I could not make
sense of the things
around me. They seemed to be blurring. Before I realized it, I slumped onto the
ground with the leopard clawing at my back. I could faintly hear the grunting
from the leopard.
Although I could feel sharp pain all over my back, I still managed to gather enough
strength to roll over. My sudden action took the creature by surprise - I had
caused it to let go of me and I was free for a short time.
That was the best chance I had to run away. However, before I could do
anything, the creature had grabbed my right shoulder. This time, the leopard
became more aggressive. It was certainly not going to let me escape and started
shaking me vigorously. The sheer strength of the mighty animal was incredible.
There was simply nothing I could do to stop it. At that instant, I was sure I
was going to die.
Without thinking, I placed my hand on the
leopard's neck. I realized that to gain control
over the animal, I had to act swiftly before it could overpower me. This was something
I had learned from my past hunting experience. I never hesitated. I wrestled
with the leopard's head and neck over my chest. Knowing that it was either me or
the leopard, I had to fight for my life. There was no time to waste. With
whatever strength that was left in me, I wrapped my left arm tightly round the
leopard's neck, trying to choke it. Furious with my action, the animal let out a
loud and deafening growl. In fighting back, it struggled with such force that I
had to put more pressure on its neck.
A young man, who was a member of the hunting
group, was scouting the area. Suddenly,
he heard a loud growl. Sensing someone was in danger, he rushed towards the
scene. He stood hesitatingly about three meters away from the leopard, not
knowing whether he could
shoot accurately. Frantically, I yelled at him to move nearer. Bang!
The first shot went off target. Then the second shot hit the leopard in the
spine. This time he did
it. There was a loud growl before it went limp. Seeing the lifeless animal next
to me, I was overcome with relief.
I think the leopard had every reason to attack me. It was starving. When I
looked straight into its face, I felt sorry. This was the closest encounter I
have ever had with such a fierce animal.
I think that firstly, he felt sorry he had to kill the leopard for doing
what is part of the basic instinct of a predator, that is, to attack its
prey for food. secondly, I think he felt sorry for the leopard because
he could see that it had been starved, probably due to the way mankind
had destroyed its natural habitat.