Love was in the air this week as the Camp Pan Male and Tamboti Female spent over five days together-hopefully creating a new set of cubs for a few months time. The Vomba Young Female was also prominent this week, spending a number of days feeding on a wildebeest calf that she managed to bring down. Enjoy!
Whenever climbing a termite mound, a leopard will always get into stalk mode when nearing the top, not knowing whats on the other side until they have a clear view.
Just like any other leopard, the Vomba Young Female doesn't enjoy her presence being given away-here she snarls at an annoying Rattling Cisticola chirping incessantly above her head, alerting any potential prey nearby of the threat.
Having spotted a herd of impala rams and wildebeest cows with calves, she is immediately alert and begins planning her approach
After being seen by some impala, she settled down, waiting for the commotion to pass. We left her to hunt in peace from there and on returning the next morning to follow up, Byron and Judas found her with a wildebeest calf that she had killed. She spent the next few days feeding on the carcass. This is another attempt at an "arty" (with arty generally being the term used to describe a photo that you completely messed up but are trying to salvage something from!) image of her walking across a clearing in the full moon to have a drink. It didn't quite come out as I had hoped, so will have to wait for another full moon to try again!
She then proceeded to drink for almost fifteen minutes at this small wallow!
She tried a number of different poses, constantly looking over her shoulder for any potential danger.
The Tamboti Female was seen this week as well, but quite far out of her territory...
The reason for this soon became clear as on the following day she was seen mating with the Camp Pan Male. A males territory is up to five times the size of a females-as such she will often have to leave her own territory in order to mate. Here she presents to Camp Pan, flicking her tail in his face. Males often come across as reluctant and disinterested participants in the mating ritual
Tamboti Female takes a break from mating, resting on the cool sand of the Mxabene drainage.
As you can see above, mating is quite an aggressive affair. This is in part due the male's barbed penis-this in fact helps stimulate ovulation during the first few days of mating.
She was almost always alert in between bouts of mating, and he immediately passed out after the deed was done!
The frequency of mating varies depending on how far into the cycle they are, but can be as much as once every five minutes or so at the peak of the roughly five days that they spend together