One has to page through the Londolozi sightings book all the way back to 13 March 2011 so as to find the last confirmed sighting of the Nyeleti 4:4 Female… since then she has all but disappeared. Now we as Rangers are very hesitant to declare an animal as dead but one has to think that this may be the case with this wonderful leopard. With one of the most active, talented and determined Tracking teams in South Africa I feel that there is little chance she can have slipped under the radar for so long.
The possibility does exist that she is still alive but has moved out of her traditional territory; however we have sent pictures and relayed phone messages to all the surrounding reserves and no one claims to have seen this gorgeous female. I fear it may be time to put her name to rest… I hope I eat my words!
To see the entire set of these hard hitting photos click here.
Nyeleti 4:4 Female did leave a wonderful legacy in the form of 3 magnificent cubs (2 males and a female), all of which are still viewed regularly at Londolozi. This last litter was born around June 2009 and as testimony to the great mother Nyeleti was, all three sub-adults are thriving and healthy. One of my favourite leopards of the current crop is the little girl. She is the smallest leopard at Londolozi; but what she lacks in size she makes up for in elegance…she is a little princess.
She has grown in stature and has matured into a confident leopard. Although still very young she is often seen walking her mom’s favourite game trails, scent marking and scraping as she moves through the northern sections of Londolozi. She is a true delight and any sighting of this female is a privilege.
I fear we may never know what happened to her mother but hopefully the Nyeleti Young Female can continue where the great 4:4 female left off.
To get a better understanding of the naming system we, at Londolozi, use for our Leopards and what exactly the 4:4 means visit the Leopards of Londolozi page.
Written, filmed and photographed by Adam Bannister