A wildlife photographer got the shock of his life when this young leopard jumped right onto the roof of his Land Rover.
Sergey Kotelnikov looked petrified when the creature jumped into his car while he was hunting in Namibia, near the border with Botswana.
Mr. Kotelnikov gasped as she rushed towards him. But his expression turned to surprise as he looked at the leopard, obviously only curious, and calmly sat down in front of him.
Then, surprisingly, Mr. Kotelnikov and fellow photographer Sergey Ivanov, who took the pictures from an adjacent Land Rover, climbed down from their cars and played with the leopard.
Russian amateur photographers climbed onto the roofs of their private car after spotting the leopard on the long grass.
Mr. Ivanov, 50, said: “We had ‘sh.oo.ti.ng’ big cats in a private park in Namibia, not far from the Botswana border.
‘We both spotted a cub hiding on the side of the trail. We watched as it slowly approached us and waited for the best shot.
‘Unfortunately, Sergey struggled with his camera when the leopard got too close. He was blind to what the leopard was doing, so he did not see it approaching his van.
“It just jumped onto the roof – you can clearly see how he feels in his facial expression.”
Mr. Ivanov added: “It was amazing; my friend was scared. I was also scared even though I was on top of the other car.
“But we quickly relaxed when we understood that this big kitten was just playing.”
After realizing the leopard didn’t mean they were harming them, the photographers jumped out of their cars and started playing with her.
The only drawback was when the play was a bit rough, and the 44-year-old Kotelnikov’s camera broke into pieces.
He said: ‘I wasn’t really upset – as this was the last day of our safari. And the joy of getting so close to a wild animal made up for all the sorrow I felt about my broken camera.
“The leopard left me with small bruises on my hands and face from where she kept jumping on me. They are strong animals even at that age.”