This is the moment when an elderly male leopard finds itself alone and outnumbered by a pack of vicious hyenas.

Usually, an adult male leopard could hold his own in the face of an attack… at least long enough to get away from the danger and retreat to higher ground. But the 12-year-old cat in this video appears very thin and in poor health.

Image: Fransie Booyens

When the hyenas spot him, they sense that he is injured and decide to test the waters. They surround him — cautiously at first — but it quickly becomes apparent that the old leopard can barely defend himself.

All four hyenas take turns attacking and dragging the helpless cat by its tail, neck and limbs, all while producing a variety of intimidating calls.

Spotted hyenas are ferocious hunters who frequently target medium-to-large size prey, including impalas, zebras and wildebeest. Unlike brown and striped hyenas that primarily scavenge for carcasses killed by other animals, spotted hyenas are among Africa’s fiercest predators.

Image: Fransie Booyens

While they don’t generally prey on big cats, they do face off with lions, leopards and cheetahs over food and territory — and they rarely pass up an opportunity to take out a potential competitor, especially one that is young or weak.

After sniffing around for a while longer, the hyenas eventually abandon the leopard, but it’s clear he won’t survive for long. This just goes to show that nature can be an unforgiving place, even for top predators!