A farmer in lset up a camera to discover why a leopard was visiting his village at night. The villagers had been reporting an increase in leopard sightings near the village for some time. The predator didn’t attack the villagers but would regularly take goats, dogs, and poultry. The villagers were worried that the leopard would eventually begin to attack people.
Hunting leopards is prohibited, so the village elders asked the charity organization Animals Asia Foundation to capture the predator and send it to a reserve. When the employees of the organization began tracking the animal, they discovered something surprising.
The leopard was coming to the village every night to visit a cow belonging to the village headman’s family. The cow and the leopard interacted peacefully, and the leopard would rub against the cow while the cow licked the leopard.
They behaved as if they were mother and calf. Scientists believe that the leopard cub had lost its mother and was hungry, so it wandered to the outskirts of the village in search of food. When it came across the cow, the cow didn’t see the cub as a threat and began nursing it.
A mother-child relationship developed between the leopard and the cow, and when the leopard grew up, it still perceived the cow as its mother.
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The villagers were happy that the friendship between the animals became popular, but they still wanted the predator captured. Eventually, the leopard stopped coming close to the village, but it did come to visit the cow once again after several months of absence.
Scientists believe that sometimes, maternal instinct can be so strong in the wild that it outweighs all other instincts and may even break the well-established hunter-prey pattern.