It was in the heart of the Mashaba female leopard’s territory that the Marthly male leopard and the Tutlwa female leopard were mating. As dusk set in the mating pair of leopards disappeared into the darkness whilst a short distance away the Mashaba female and her cub fed on an impala. Early the next morning, tracks of the mating pair were found heading towards the previous position of the Mashaba female. As the Marthly Male took a break from mating and opportunistically stalked a nearby herd of impala, the Tutlwa female caught a glimpse of her younger half sister, the Mashaba female, watching from a thicket.
At first there was a brief silence as the two leopards sized each other up, and then the Tutlwa female started trotting towards the Mashaba female. Within seconds the air was charged with tension as the rival half sisters prepared for battle.
Once the fight was over and the Mashaba female had rolled onto her back as an act of submission towards the Tutlwa female, the Marthly male walked up to the submissive female and growled as if to warn her not to follow them as they moved off.
Although the Tutlwa female was in Mashaba’s territory, it is doubtful that she was looking to expand her already sizeable and coveted territory. Our speculation is that the Tutlwa female had continued mating with the Marthly male into Mashaba’s territory under the guise of his protection. After the spat, the mating pair disappeared leaving the Mashaba female to relocate her hidden cub and hoisted kill from the previous evening.
What do you think of this altercation between the two leopards who are both daughters, from separate litters, of the Vomba Female and Camp Pan male?
Filmed by John Varty and Mike Sutherland
Photographs by: Bennet Mathonsi