There are times when I could literally kick myself – twice.
Not having a video camera when a leopard kills a python is one of those moments. Footage of her coming down a termite mound, spotting a serpent in the grass, carefully reconnoitering where its head is and then grabbing it – sensational stuff (not for the python) and would have been great for our Londolozi blog. The new kids out there are all well digitized these days and competition for spots in Londolozis’ cyberworld is tough – this would have been a Grammy winner.
The other carefully aimed kick would be for not capturing the Nottens Female in her mothers’ (The 3:4 Female ) old haunts. Marking territory, rubbing up against trees, watching over her savanna from prominent termite mounds and reclining on the same rocks that her mother hid her when she was no bigger than a scrub hare. Nottens has taken the 3:4 females territory and this, for the rangers and trackers of Londolozi, is exciting stuff. No longer will afternoons on Nyamakunze Crest be filled with the ghost of 3:4 and now the Tugwaan Drainage Line will quite possibly have cub tracks in it once again.
The 3:4 female, in case you missed her, was part of a remarkable leopard lineage that stretches back to the original mother leopard who was first encountered in 1979 by John Varty. Rangers and Trackers have followed the mother leopard’s family for 30 years. Sentimentality in the bush is not typically encouraged, we are supposed to be passive observers, however it just seems so fitting to see the next generation of this magnificent family line continuing unchecked in their ancestral heartland.
Nottens previously occupied the southern portions of Dudley and encounters with her were as rare as thunderstorms in October. In the void that her mother left when she died, tenderly aged 17 some months ago, a few females have come, sniffed around and just as quickly moved on. It’s Nottens that has staked her claim here – and in doing so arrived at the heart of Londolozi. Not only is she occupying prime leopard country but she is now within ‘easy reach’ on a typical game drive and sightings of her should become more frequent. Large, relaxed and familiar, Nottens will treat visitors to Londolozi for some years to come to a wonderful glimpse of the Mother Leopards’ proud and enduring lineage.
Filmed by: Rich Laburn & Renias Mhlongo
Written by: Tom Imrie