As if last month’s mating with the Vomba Female Leopard wasn’t enough; Tyson was discovered mating with the Nyelethi Female this past week at Londolozi. The pair were sighted and filmed on the northern bank of the Sand River, just west of Finfoot crossing. Tyson’s typically relaxed demeanor meant that both cats were incredibly at ease, mating multiple times throughout the morning.
Later that afternoon, guests and I were watching the spectacle continue when our guide, Richie Ferrier, began to talk about how a dominant male such as Tyson naturally promotes an increase in leopard populations. Our vehicle sat in the heart of the Vomba female’s territory, running along the Sand River, yet just west of us, was the Tutlwa female and her very young cub (also spotted that morning). Somewhere just to the north of us were the Nyelethi female’s three sub-adult offspring. This meant a total of 8 leopards in an area of about 8 square kilometers. That is one leopard per square kilometer in Marthly (Northern Londolozi)!
Rich explained that owing to Tyson’s dominance, no other mature male leopards have recently setup territories in Marthly. This has resulted in the settled females falling pregnant, new cubs being born and growing cubs surviving to adulthood as the risk of infanticide decreases.
None of the rangers or trackers are certain of where Tyson originated from or what his current age is. What they do know is that he has stamped his authority on the supremely beautiful north of Londolozi, breathing life and security into an eco-system of leopards that is only going to continue to flourish under him….and if he continues to mate with every available female, well we won’t complain about that either….
Filmed by: Byron Serrao & Graeme Marais