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James Tyrrell

Photographic Guide/Media Team

James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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15 Comments

on The Return of the Munghen Male

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Liz
Member
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Thanks James, very interesting to learn that leopards are seen to return to their birthplace as they start to lose a grip on their territories in older age. This boy is beautiful and as you say we are used to seeing him further south. I am curious about the Tugwaan male you mention, would this be the same male that used to frequent the western sector (Exeter etc) known as Tegwaan. He disappeared from there sometime ago after the floods and was said to have been stranded on the north of the Sand River? Would be lovely to know if this boy is still around. Thanks

James T
Member
Guest

Hi Liz,
I don’t think it is the same male. The Tugwaan male we see is sometimes referred to as the Short Tail Male, the Bicycle Crossing Male, or “M” by Sabi Sabi, due to the ‘M’-pattern of spots on his forehead. We also use his 5:4 spot pattern above his whisker line to identify him, but those foreheads spots make him instantly recognizable. He was born to the Short Tail female in 2002. His territory extends right the way up into central Sparta, eastwards across the Sand River, and as far as I know, he has been exerting ever-increasing pressure on the Munghen Male in the south…
If you are referring to the floods of this year, then no, the Tugwaan male (named after the Tugwaan drainage that runs through his territory) has been territorial in the area since long before that. Have a look at http://www.londolozi.com/leopards/leopards-of-londolozi/male-leopards/short-tail-54-male/ for a brief synopsis on this leopard.

James T
Member
Guest

He was renamed the Tugwaan male sometime early last year.

Liz
Member
Guest

Hi James, thanks so much for your in depth response – no it’s not the same male. Didn’t realise that Tugwaan was the same as Short Tail or Bicycle Crossing – so hard to keep track with all the different names for the same leopard.
Tegwaan I refer to disappeared around December 2010 and after heavy rains in January 2011 it was said he was stranded on the north side of the Sand River – his territory being challenged then by Xinzele, who also seems to have disappeared in recent months!
Thanks so much for your time and trouble. Best wishes

Rosie
Member
Guest

James, does the same hold true for female leopards ? I’m asking as we saw Safari towards the end of the drives at Djuma for Wildearth, and were wondering if she’d come home for the same reason ? It was about a month before she disappeared completely and was listed as missing, presumed dead. I think Mufufunyane came through Londolozi on his way to his birthplace in Mala Mala before he went missing too didn’t he ? Although you could see that Muff was not doing at all well the last time we saw him on camera at Djuma, he was painfully thin and drooling.

James T
Member
Guest

Rosie you will generally find female leopards setting up territory adjacent to their mother’s territory. Young male’s are forced out by their fathers, whereas the young females tend to stay nearby. You might find slight shifts in territories with the females as neighbouring females (unrelated or not) die or are killed, but it is unlikely to see them covering the same distances as the males, especially as their territories tend to be considerably smaller.
I have not seen Mafufunyane myself, and I think his passing through would have remained largely undocumented, as it would have occurred in the far North East of our property, in a difficult area to continuously follow the lives of individual leopards.

MJ
Member
Guest

Thank you for the update on Sandriver, he is an awesome leopard. Hopefully he will be able to live in peace for a while longer. Time does have a way of marching onward doesn’t it.

Love taking peeks into your wonderful & beautiful world!

Bryan Aylmer
Member
Guest

Hi James,

is this ‘Sandriver’ male the same one that they write about or we see on the Sabi Sabi blog?

Also, have you guys seen that old male that was eating the Fish Eagle chicks a few months ago again?

Regards

Bryan.

James T
Member
Guest

Hi Bryan,

This is indeed the same Sand River male talked about on the Sabi Sabi blog. He was even on the cover of Africa Geographic magazine a few years back (mid 2010 as far as I can remember).

We have not seen that old male who ate the fish-eagle chicks since the incident. It is quite possible he has died or been killed since then.

James

Nomathata
Member
Guest

Hi JT
Thanx Boet for whatever you guys doing in Londos, that milky right eye remaind me of Domingos(My father’s dog named “Swamuti “meaning ” for family”).We thought he wass dead for 8 months and he came back after that, unfortunately he died after a week. He came back to make us sure that he was still alive,then he famba Xikwembu after that. I hope not to happen for Munghen male,still looking forward to track him

Thanx

James T
Member
Guest

No problem No Mathata.
Let’s go track him together!

JT

md1977
Member
Guest

Hi guys,

great article.
What is the size of SandRiver compared to the other male leopards in this area?
When I see pictures of him from the other areas he looks bigger than Shorty but he he gave him his milky eye..

James T
Member
Guest

As large male leopards go, Shorty is certainly not the biggest, but he is clearly a force to be reckoned with, as he has a very large territory and has been ousting Munghen male from some of his territory as far as we know.
He is a similar age to Camp Pan, yet Camp Pan seems to be in decline whilst Shorty is still fathering cubs and holding on to his territory well.

Munghen male is a year or so older than Shorty, which might account for his losing the eye. After about 9 or 10 years male leopards slowly start losing muscle mass. Munghen male is most likely further advanced in his decline than Shorty.
At least thats as I understand it.

Comments or other opinions welcome…

Mike
Member
Guest

hey Adam or Rich or James T, seems like its been along time scince any mention of Dudley 5:5 male, ( love his history) does he still exist? thnx

Linda
Member
Guest

HI there, I was looking for this male on the Leopards of Londolozi ID and info page. Is he not there? Also for Piva female and Piva 3:2 young male. I love the history that you have on these leopards. THanks heaps for the story.

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