This is a blog that could have been written a few months ago. The Nottens female leopard was last seen in November and you would have to be an outrageous optimist to suggest that she is still alive. At 18 years old, Nottens was proverbially as old as the hills, but like her mother the 3:4 female, she graced the green pastures of Londolozi and skipped all the hazards of being a leopard better than just about any other leopard I can remember.

Death is normally a private affair for a leopard. We don’t know where or how she died but she was last seen in poor condition trying to raid a kill from the Camp Pan Male. She was gaunt and in desperate need of a meal but as is the way of the leopard he unceremoniously dumped her out of the tree and after that last attempt I believe she probably went off to die somewhere hidden. It’s a subtle reminder that in the wild it’s a no mercy but no malice affair and her subsequent disappearance is testament to the fact that we are only allowed into their lives for fleeting moments and not all of their significant ones.

Nottens

Nottens surrounded by autumn’s rusty browns and oranges.

DSC6374

It was a privilege to see the Nottens female.

Nottens was hard to find and often impossible to follow. Those special moments were privileged and after a morning or evening with her I would often think that we had just taken a ‘proper’ game drive – because to be with Nottens you had to drive far and search intently, often forgoing the opportunity to sit and watch general game in order to keep on her trail.

Nottens on the road

Nottens was hard to find and often impossible to follow.

Her territory was down in the southern reaches of Londolozi but as she grew older and her territory shrank and was then taken, she took to venturing much further North – up to the Mxabene and Tugwaan drainages: places she knew well as a cub in the care of her mother.

Like all of the mother leopard descendants she was big and pale with dark alluring eyes. I enjoyed watching her as a simple reminder of the rich heritage that the mother leopard left us and whilst there are new lineages and families to keep track of, hers was one that most guides at Londolozi have always been in awe of.

Nottens

At 18 years old, Nottens was proverbially as old as the hills.

Nottens Female

Like all of the mother leopard descendants she was big and pale with dark alluring eyes

She’s missed as much as any of the great cats that have been documented here over four decades. She had success as a young mother and on those great afternoons when we get far enough away from camp there is always the chance of seeing the Piva Female and some of those great Mother Leopard / Tugwaan Female / 3:4 Female / Nottens Female genetics.

Maybe the universe does hold a special place for all of us after death: I sure hope there are marula trees there…

Written by: Tom Imrie

Nottens in tree

One of the beautifully captured moments of the Nottens female looking directly at the camera.

nottens

Looking to the heavens. The Nottens female will be missed by many.

Nottens in the grass

Elegant in the long green grass. The Nottens female presented us with special moments like this.

Lying in the grass

“She graced the green pastures of Londolozi and skipped all the hazards of being a leopard better than just about any other leopard I can remember” – Tom Imrie.

 Watch this phenomenal footage of the Nottens female and Camp Pan male mating:

 

Filed under Leopards Wildlife

About the Author

Tom Imrie

Field Guide

Tom is the voice of wisdom, reason and logic on the Londolozi Ranging Team, as well as all the other facets that go hand-in-hand with being an intellectual far beyond the realm of most mere mortals. There are very few subjects under the ...

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33 Comments

on A Tribute to the Nottens Female

TED SWINDON
Guest

HI TOM,
THANK YOU FOR THE TRIBUTE TO THE NOTTENS FEMALE.
I WAS PRIVELEDGED TO VIEW HER ON MANY OCCASSIONS WITH BYRON AND JUDAS, AND WE ALWAYS MARVELLED AT HER BEAUTY.
HER DISTINCT PALE COLOURING AND HER DARK EYES LURED YOU INTO HER MYSTERIOUS WORLD.
THESE ARE SOME VERY NICE PHOTOGRAPHS OF HER, AND THANKS FOR SHARING THESE ALSO.
IT WAS A REAL PRIVELEDGE TO HAVE SHARED SOME WONDERFUL TIMES VIEWING HER.
MAY SHE ENJOY THE SHADE OF THE MARULA TREES IN HEAVEN!
KIND REGARDS,
TED.

nikki taylor
Guest

beautifully written Tom.

Sal Roux
Guest

a truly honorable, noble and beautiful tribute to a great lady…glorious photographs of her…the respect this leopard commanded and the delight her presence gave to so many will long be remembered.
thank you

Marg Guit
Guest

Tom, your tribute is very moving. With each image I viewed, I could only sit and contemplate in silence. Her beauty and grace have been beautifully captured here. May she find an abundance of marula trees……..

Margaret Hide
Guest

Thank you for a beautifully written tribute, Tom. Our first leopard we saw at Londo…

Lynn Rattray
Guest

Beautiful tribute to an amazing leopard. Thanks for sharing. Sad.

Novi MacAllister
Guest

Well-written and an honorable tribute, Tom. Looking forward to reading more of your work!

Arden Zalman
Guest

She will never be forgotten. Her beauty survives in her offspring.

Judy Guffey
Guest

Beautiful animal….beautiful story.

Karine Gay
Guest

Beautiful.thank you

Evette Hartig
Guest

Those of us who briefly shared her world were indeed privileged.

Patti M Hall
Guest

Some of the most moving photos I’ve seen from the Londolozi leopards. Thank you.

Tom
Guest

Thank you as well. Saw her in September walking down the road. At that point every move seemed “painful”, but she plodded on. Wish I could have seen her in her prime; but not to be. I do miss Londolozi GR; an incredible place.

MJ
Guest

Thank you for your tribute to the Nottens Female.. She will be sorely missed.. But the smiles she gave us will be forever in our hearts.. And we will continue to see her in the legacy she has left.. The genes of Mother Leopard are strong and live on!

Elaine Randolph
Guest

A beautiful life. Thank you for sharing this tribute and photos.

Jill Grady
Guest

Thank you Tom for such a moving tribute to a very beautiful Leopard. How lucky we all were to have her with us on this Earth, even for this short moment in time, and how much she will be missed. These beautiful animals touch your heart and soul and break your heart when they are gone. Surely there must be a very special place in heaven for them with lots of Marula trees.

Mary Beth Wheeler
Guest

Vomba and now Nottens – such beauties. How lucky we’ve been to see them…always remembered.

TinaGreeff
Guest

What a lovely tribute to a wonderful animal.She will be missed but will always be remembered by all the visitors and people following the Londolozi bloggs.

Geri Potter
Guest

She lived a noble life in the MOST beautiful place and raised some fine offspring…a life well lived. Well done and God speed Madame Nottens!!! Till we all meet again!
Thank you for sharing the pictures with us, Tom, and her life with us, Londolozi!

colo43
Guest

Thank you for her Tribute. Such a beautiful animal she was, we hate to see them depart from our lives.

Wendy Hawkins
Guest

Thank you Tom, that’s a beautiful tribute to a magnificent Lady Leopard with her pale colouring. Long may her genes be enjoyed in the Londolozi GR & blogs for us <3 Your pictures & video are stunning

Shardool Kulkarni
Guest

A fitting tribute to such a beautiful and hardy leopard! Any idea what happened to her surviving daughter from the June 2006 litter. Could she be the leopard known as the Calabash female others leopard with the stained iris?

Rosie
Guest

RIP beautiful lady and thanks for the memories.

Brian C
Guest

Tom has a talent for describing how Nottens was a unique Londolozi leopard.
The photos and video are a fitting tribute to this beautiful “old lady.”
RIP Nottens!
Thanks!

Stephanie P.
Guest

Beautiful piece, thanks for the memories. It’s so wonderful that Londolozi keeps track of these beautiful leopards, it’s so interesting to see their offspring and know what they’re up to. When I visited Londolozi last year, I had the privilege to see the Camp Pan male. Nottens was mentioned in our vehicle at how elusive she was. Thanks for the update. What a privilege to be around these wonderful cats.

Comments are closed.

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