The Mashaba young female was born in May 2015 and is now fully independent, yet has not established a territory for herself.

Nomadic around the fringes of her mothers territory would best sum up her movements, but as she’s almost three and has been seen mating on a number of occasions, we would expect her to want to establish herself somewhere soon.

3
Ximungwe 5:3 Female
2015 - present

Having been viewed by vehicles from an early age, this leopard is supremely relaxed around Land Rovers.

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Ximungwe 5:3 Female

Lineage
Sunsetbend
Identification
markings
Timeline
30 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
1 known
Litters
1 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist

The problem comes in when one considers the territories of the dominant females of the area:

Map21

Only the main territories surrounding the Mashaba female’s are shown.

The black spots represent sightings of the Mashaba Young female over the last couple of months. Recent weeks have seen her further and further afield, with the latest sighting (which was rather incredible; we’ll be posting on it in the next couple of days) seeing her chased by a new young leopard, the Nweti male, way down near the headwaters of the Tugwaan drainage line.

Unfortunately for her, and as one can see if you look at the map, the area around her mother’s territory doesn’t really have any vacancies. We ran a post a week or two ago about the Tatowa female and how she had had to move quite far from her natal area in order to establish herself. The Mashaba young female may well have to do exactly that. Female leopards often set up territory next to their mothers, but this is usually dependent on their mother having space to cede in the first place, which the Mashaba female doesn’t really.

6
Tatowa 3:3 Female
2012 - present

The Tatowa female was one of a litter of three females born in early 2012 to the Ximpalapala female of the north.

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Tatowa 3:3 Female

Lineage
Short Tail Female
Identification
markings
Timeline
15 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
2 known
Litters
1 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist
10
Mashaba 3:3 Female
2008 - present

The Mashaba female is currently Londolozi’s best known leopard. Her relaxed nature means she is comfortable around the camps and vehicles.

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Mashaba 3:3 Female

Lineage
Sunsetbend
Identification
markings
Timeline
50 stories
Territory
maps
Parents
2 known
Litters
5 known
Offspring
known
Siblings
known
Videos
playlist
Mashaba Young Female Leopard Marula Jt

Yesterday’s sighting, in which the MYF was watching something rustling in the grass nearby… Check in in the next few days for the full sighting update.

Mashaba Young Female Jt

When she was still a curious cub and fully dependent on her mother.

The most likely bet – and this is also based on where we have been seeing her more and more – is that she moves down into the southwest; the area to the west of the Tatowa female’s territory. We don’t generally go looking for leopards here. We see them, but hardly ever go on an active search. This extensive grassland is hard to track in, and makes it hard to spot leopards on the ground. To be honest, we don’t even know how far west the Tatowa female’s territory extends, so the area may well be occupied already.
Either way, it isn’t prime leopard territory, and the potential lack of competition could make it exactly the type of place that lets the Mashaba young female get her foot in the door.

Filed under Leopards Wildlife

Involved Leopards

Tatowa 3:3 Female

Tatowa 3:3 Female

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Mashaba 3:3 Female

Mashaba 3:3 Female

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Ximungwe 5:3 Female

Ximungwe 5:3 Female

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About the Author

James Tyrrell

Photographic Guide/Media Team

James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills were well developed, and he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team as a result. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the photographic skills ...

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12 Comments

on The Mashaba Young Female: Where to Next?

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Marinda Drake

The Mashaba young female is one of my favourite leopards as is her mother. Is the south west not the open areas? Are there any drainage lines where she can establish a territory?

Denise Vouri

Fascinating James. The need to establish one’s own territory seems an difficult job for the offspring of those already in residence- where to go, how to slide under the radar, finding a partner…. it seems the lives of felines are more complicated than those of Impalas, for example. I’m truly fascinated by leopards and the reporting by the staff of Londolozi keeps my intrigue fueled. I look forward to hearing more about the Mashaba young female.

Callum Evans

Going to be interesting to see where she settles. I wonder if she will encounter any of the other resident leopards.

Al Kaiser

Very interesting and I always enjoy the maps. I visited for a period over 18 months where I never saw the Mashaba Young female and was grateful for the sighting in New Years to see her mating with the Inyathini male. Any additional info on the new male?

James Tyrrell

Hi Al,
He’s the son of the Hlaba’nkunzi female from the west, born in December 2015…

Kelly Bernard

It’s quite sad to think that space is running out. Would she not establish her territory north of her mothers, or is the river a boundary for her?

James Tyrrell

Hi Kelly,
The north is also effectively occupied by other females, namely the Nanga, Ingrid Dam, Nhlanguleni and Piccadilly females, so there isn’t really a lot of room for her there either.
The river wouldn’t be a barrier to movement, although leopards will often use natural features like rivers as territorial boundaries…

Kelly Bernard

Hi James, awesome thanks so much for the response! I have hope she’ll do well!

Nicki Ryan

Looking forward to seeing where she finally settles and to see if her mating has been successful. Interesting she has chosen to go to the SW potentially. Is the area north of her mother leopard territory?

James Tyrrell

Hi Nicki, very much so. The north is also effectively spoken for, but if she inherits her mother’s size she will end up as a big female, and it may be possible for her to push smaller females out…

Michael & Terri Klauber

James, Thanks for the update! It has been fun watching her grow up and we look forward to hearing where she finally settles. Of course her Mom is our favorite too!

James Tyrrell

Haha her mum is one of mine too!
We’ve just renamed the MYF by the way. Announcement coming soon… 😉

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