This week marks the start of a new weekly blog post about the Leopards of Londolozi. We will be showcasing the leopards who have been taking center stage for the past week, with photo’s of their exploits and some information regarding who has been doing what. Hope you enjoy catching up on these magnificent cats that we are so fortunate to share time with, please leave your thoughts and questions about your favourite images in the comments section below.
Dudley Riverbank 5:5 Male and Vomba 3:3 Young Female
Since moving into Camp Pan's territory this year, the Dudley Riverbank 5:5 Male has been attracting a lot of attention. Here he is seen scent marking, as the Vomba Young female walks in the background. She was definitely courting him, but her inexperience and age was obvious and he turned her down with disdain.
Vomba Young Female, wet with morning dew, perches on a falllen tree. She is doing her best to establish herself as a permanent presence in the prime territory surrounding and including the sand river, much to her mom the Vomba Female's discontent.
The Maxabene 2:2 Female
The Maxabene Female has been her usual elusive self lately. Draped over a fallen acacia in the Maxabene River, she snarls at a hyaena that approaches just a little too close, her breath visible in the cool morning air. We are hoping that she will produce a new litter of cubs in the not too distant future.
For the most part, leopard's don't come across as overly intimidating-it's their beauty that immediately grabs your attention. This is particularly true for the petite Maxabene Female. Occasionally though, they give you a glimpse of their darker side, as she does here whilst continuing to glare at the hyaena.
Despite knowing a lot about the majority of the leopards we see, the beauty of being a part of a 3million hectare conservation and wilderness area is that you just never know what may be around the next corner. This unknown male leopard sizes up the tantalising but impossible prospect dining on a bufallo bull. He was one of three males (two never seen on Londolozi before) found within five hundred meters of each other on this morning.
This young male was the second unknown male mentioned above. At his age he has dispersed from his mother's territory and is nomadic, awaiting a time when he is strong enough to challenge for a territory of his own.
The Short Tail 5:4 Male Leopard
The Short Tail male has managed to avoid most of the conflict surrounding Camp Pan and Dudley 5:5. With Camp Pan pre-occupied defending his core territory, "Shorty" has been seen pushing slightly further north and west than usual on occasion.
Vomba 3:2 Female Leopard
Winter and the low water levels in the Sand River make it the ideal place for leopards to move and hunt in at this time of year. Controlling a large portion of this area, the Vomba Female easily negotiates a small channel in the river.
Tutlwa 4:3 Female Leopard
The Tutlwa female has become a bit of an enigma amongst the rangers at Londolozi and I think this picture of her sums that up just perfectly! Crouched on a fallen Marula tree she cuts a typical leopard pose, silhoutted against a darkening sky.
The Marthly 3:2 Male Leopard
Oh so close!! During my first year and a half at Londolozi I don't recall the Marthly male being seen once, but he has since become a regular visitor. Here he springs effortlessly up an ebony tree south of the Sand River to an impala kill hoisted above. Just a split second too late, I managed to cut off his head, ruining a potentially spectacular photo. I'm sure many who have been to Londolozi to photograph these amazing animals could relate to this frustration though?!