Leopard diaries 23 February – 5 March 2012
Karula is one of our frequently seen dominant female leopard's that seems not only to provide food for her two fast growing cubs, Shavindzi and Shivambalana, but just like a sighting that was posted last year, we found her and her two cubs together with the dominant male Jordaan sitting beneath a small tree with the young male leopard from her previous litter, Nduna, feeding on a large impala ram. I have no doubt that she had made the kill as tracks showed where she had fetched her two cubs from Vuyatela and come straight back to where she had hoisted her kill. It is rather unusual to see how tolerant Jordaan is of Nduna's presence, at his age he should have already been chased out of the territory. Lets hope that this extra pressure on Karula doesn't result in her undoing.
Tingana, Salayexe and Shadow have been in a love triangle for over four weeks now. It seems that both the female leopards have come into oestrus at the same time. The sequence of photo's above shows Tingana and Shadow mating late one afternoon and then he and Salayexe mating again the same evening. When female leopards come into oestrus they initiate the whole mating process by seeking out the male. It seems that Shadow kept on moving into Salayexe's territory while she was looking for Tingana to mate with; Salayexe being much larger kept on chasing her away from the big male only to take her position as his mate.
After following them we eventually caught up with Ntima who had been chased up a Marula tree.
Plenty of new born zebras are providing fantastic game viewing around the airstrips; also a bush buck showing the results of a ferocious stand-off that these male antelope often have.
Probably the sighting of the month, a male Crowned Eagle which we spotted perched on a Knobthorn in the open areas around Elephant Plains. An eagle you would normally find in the indigenous forests where it specializes in preying on small mammals like monkeys, baboons, dassies, mongooses, cats and even small antelope. They have been known to range far from the forests when hunting.
Liam and the Simbambili team