Londolozi is home to a very healthy population of Leopards. Over the years it has developed the reputation of being the premier spot in Africa to watch these majestic cats in the wild. As has been described numerous times on this blog we are able to distinguish individual leopards based on a combination of spot patterns and territories.
Regular Londolozi visitors, or even the passionate online community, will recall some of the better known Leopards of Londolozi. The likes of Camp Pan, Tugwaan Male, Vomba Female and Maxabeni Female are amongst our most well known and best documented.
There is one female leopard whom is relatively new to the family. We have, in the past few weeks, written a fair bit about her but we have not really dived deeply into her history…until now.
Introducing the Piva Female
a.k.a. Nottens Young Female
Born in November 1998 to the Nottens Female (she had a sister who disappeared at about 3 yrs).
This leopard was the first cub of the Nottens female, and therefore inherited the royal blood of the original Mother Leopard.
The Piva Female has had 8 litters, to date, that we have been able to figure out thanks to the help of other lodges and rangers in the Sabi Sands.
2001 – 2 males, both survived
2004 – 2 cubs, killed by male leopard
2005 – unknown, died before independence
2006 – 2 cubs, 1 female survived (called Mbilo in the south, possibly Wacheche)
2008 – 3 cubs, 2 killed by hyena, 1 by male leopard
2009 – 2 cubs, killed my male leopard
2010 – 2 males, 1 killed by Tugwaan, 1 still alive (Selati male at Sabi Sabi/Mandla at Nottens)
2012 – 2 cubs, only 1 still alive * this is the cub in the picture below
This leopard was born to the Nyelethi female in March 2008, but sadly did not live long enough to establish herself.
The majority of her life has been lived south of Londolozi and hence for many years has actually been absent from our lands. It is with great excitement that we welcome back one of the members of the ‘Leopard Royal Family’. Yet another descendant of the famous Mother Leopard. So even though she may be new to our blog and the more recent rangers and trackers, this leopard has a healthy background here. It is believed that the arrival of a new male leopard in the southern regions of the Sabi Sands has meant that Piva has moved north in an attempt to protect her cub.
A couple of weeks ago we started encountering this female together with a cub. The cub is thought to have been born around May and is 6th generation! Yet another incredible example of the heritage and history of the Leopards at Londolozi.
Written by Adam Bannister
Pictures by Adam bannister, Talley Smith and James Crookes
Special thanks to Guy Balme for help with the information
Nice article Ad.
Having re-referenced some of my old photos of the female leopard we used to see most regularly down on the Notten’s property itself, I have realised this is the same female, who is referred to as the Notten’s female by the reserves to the south.
Interestingly enough, I was actually on the vehicle that discovered that the cub from her 2010 litter had been killed by the Tugwaan male! It was a dark and stormy evening, and we had tracked it back onto the Nottens property from the Eastern boundary. Tracks of a large male were on top of its tracks, and we suddenly came round a corner to discover the Tugwaan male standing over the lifeless cub, about 2 minutes after he had caught up with it and killed it. A very dramatic and sad scene. The Munghen or Sand River Male was the father of that litter (hence the aggression from the Tugwaan male) but it is most likely the Tugwaan male that has fathered the Piva female’s current cub, given his expanding territory down into Nottens and Sabi Sabi.
Adam, thank you for the beautiful photos and also the interesting background on the younger Nottens female.
Wonderful news! Thanks for ‘connecting the dots’ (no pun intended) of the Royal family…I hope she stays close to her roots and sets up another long dynasty! She is gorgeous!!
What a great article. Really tells of the background of this great female. Thanks heaps 🙂
Thank you again, for you wonderful blog and keeping everyone up to date, I look forward to learning more and love that I can stay connected with the animals and people of Londolozi. Adam, you are appreciated.
What a fabulous family!
Thank you very much for the information. I hope the little cub will make it to adulthood.