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18 to 26 April 2010

Leopard Diaries

A word from our rangers.

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18 to 26 April 2010

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Leopard Diaries 18th to 26th April 2010

The weather has been wonderful for the last few days. We had good rain to begin the winter this season and it had been cloudy for the previous two weeks making the game viewing somewhat variable.

Leopard sightings were scarce for a few drives this week, which is unusual for Simbambili. Tyson, the big male leopard, has not been spotted for a couple of days since he crossed the boundary into an adjacent property. Safari the old female leopard was seen at Big Dam where she had a close encounter with Salayexe the western female leopard. When Safari spotted Salayexe she tried to hide but it was too late, Salayexe had already spotted her and there was a confrontation. Everyone in my vehicle was very concerned about the old female as Salayexe inflicted injuries on both front legs. Luckily she was able to back off completely and the young female walked away from her in a different direction after establishing her dominance.

Salayexe's young sub adult cubs were seen in a different area, she is trying to separate from them as it is about time they start hunting for themselves. It has been about two weeks that they have been away from each other, and the cubs have started to catch small game such as scrub hares, dwarf mongooses and ground nesting birds. They appear to be doing extremely well, but their mother still keeps an occasional eye on them to ensure their survival. She fetches them if she makes a big kill. The young male is named Rhulani (which means peace) and Nsele is the female leopard (which means aggressive one). Normally the mortality rate of the leopard cubs is high but Salayexe has done extremely well looking after these cubs from a young age until now. They are 12months old now and it seems they will make it to adult hood.

Lion viewing was also quiet for a few drives this week, however we were fortunate to see young male lion of about 4years of age at Big Dam. He appeared to be injured on his front right foot, and he had few claw marks on his back. Obviously he had been attacked by the two dominant males of our area. During the week we also saw the Styx pride on Londolozi boundary not doing much.

Until next time.

The Simbambili team

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