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Leopard Diaries

A word from our rangers.

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Leopard Diaries August 2012

By Liam Rainier


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The dominant male leopard in the west of our traverse area, known as Tingana, was seen stealing a female bushbuck off one of the female leopards close to Simbambili Lodge. Male leopards will often scavenge from smaller predators including other leopards. Female leopards really do have a tough time, especially when they have cubs as they are pressurised to make kills more frequently to feed their ravenous offspring. Where a fully grown impala will last a female leopard on her own up to three days, it will only last her a day with fast growing cubs and therefore she will be under a huge amount of pressure to provide enough meat for her family, never mind herself. So as hard as it is to raise cubs on their own, they then have to cope with the much larger male leopards that at any given chance will push the poor females off their well-earned kills. Although male leopards do indirectly play a role in protecting their young by defending their territory against other males who will kill young leopards not belonging to them, they don’t directly help raise their own cubs.

Leopard Diaries July 2012

By Liam Rainier


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It was sad to see that Shadow (top left) has been mating with Tingana again. She was last seen at the beginning of June heavily pregnant so by the looks of things she has lost her cubs once again. It has been recorded that if a female leopard has stillborn cubs then she may come into oestrus immediately. This seems to be the case as she’s had two separate mating cycles with Tingana in one month. When female leopards come into oestrus they initiate the whole mating process, so they do sometimes take a risk in moving into unfamiliar territories in order to find a male to mate with - as the males have larger territories than the females. In Shadow’s case every time she found Tingana he was deep into Salayexe’s territory. We had a couple of sightings with all three leopards together until Salayexe (top right) had enough and chased Shadow away, on one occasion coming to blows but thankfully there were no serious injuries. Salayexe also gave birth to her cubs on the 28th of June (We know the date as she had the cubs under the deck of the Simbambili Lodge SPA).

Leopard Diaries 18-31 May 2012

By Liam Rainier
Leopard Diaries  18 May 2012

The first cold front of the season has come and gone dropping the temperatures in the lowveld to around five degrees Celsius in the early mornings. The Red Bush willows and the Knob Thorns are losing their leaves and the grass is brown and dry, causing even the lightest footed animal to rustle as it moves through the undergrowth. Winter is finally here.


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