16 Comments

on What Everybody Ought To Know About Vomba Young Male

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Jonathan Dee
Member
Guest

We were fortunate enough to see the Vomba female and her new cub on Sept 18, 2012, on, I believe the same day that Chris took his photos. Mom had just killed a duiker, and was calling to her shy cub to come out of hiding to enjoy a meaty repast. He was very skittish, and would not emerge into the open as long as we were observing him So we reluctently left them, and went on our way, but not before we were able to capture several shots of the adorable youngster. It’s great to see that he’s not only survived, but grown into a handsome and powerful young adult.

I’d be happy to send a few photos, if you’d like.

Rich Laburn
Head of Digital

Hi Jonathan, thanks your comments and memories. Was this the sighting you were referring to: http://blog.londolozi.com/2012/09/vomba-female-stalks-and-catches-duiker/ – Fascinating footage of the Vomba Female chasing and catching a duiker.

Jonathan Dee
Member
Guest

Yes. That’s the day. She had the cub safely hidden, and didn’t call for him until she had carried the duiker into a thicket to hide it from other predators.

Ryan James
Member
Guest

Thanks Mike – hope I get to see him soon! Awesome night time shot 🙂

Brian C
Member
Guest

Nice post. The photo near the top of mother and cub was a fitting tribute to the Vomba female and her success as a mother.
But this is about the Vomba Young Male’s future.
I am usually focused on the challenges leopard cubs encounter to survive. But then what? Independence has its price and I guess a leopard sub-adult has more life lessons to learn before he is ready to claim a territory. Good luck, Vomba Young Male! He has great parents, great genes and looks like he is on the right path to becoming a fine adult male leopard!
Thanks for keeping us informed about him and the other youngsters ( Mashaba Young Female, Ximpalapala Young, etc). The map is a nice touch.

Shardool Kulkarni
Member
Guest

So the vomba female disappeared last July and the maxabeni female in October 2012. Both these females were around 15 years old, so basically not really old enough to die of true old age (17-19). So what might have killed them according to you? They must have obviously died a violent death and not a completely natural one. So, another leopard (plausible given that females of them age have started to weaken) or lions or perhaps drowning in the sand river? What is your opinion?

Rich Laburn
Head of Digital

Hi Shardool, thanks for your comments. Average lifespans of leopards are based on averages and it is thus important to keep in mind that many elderly leopards (15 years) may well die owing to internal sickness, inability to hunt owing to an injury, potential blindness (the Vomba Female had a problem with her one eye) or simply old age.

I would be hesitant to say that they died a violent death as we dont have any clues as to whether or not this was the case. I hope that answers your question?

rich

Mike Sutherland
Guest contributor

Shardool, you raise a very valid point. If you look at the Nottens female in particular, she managed to live to 18 years old and has unfortunately recently vanished aswell. There certainly may be some violence in their deaths as it is a harsh world they live in. Nature takes its course. Some thoughts and discussions within the ranging team were that she may have had an encounter with the new Mhangeni Pride. They spent alot of time in the river raising their 9 cubs and this is where the Vomba female spent alot of time aswell. However, it is just a theory. There could have been many causes like Rich suggests. Illness, Injury and old age.

Mike

Shardool Kulkarni
Member
Guest

Thanks a ton! I suppose the same logic applies to maxabeni female as wel It’s sad to know that nottens passed on although it was expected. I’ve observed that either female leopards (especially 14 and older) just disappear like the vomba, maxabeni, Campbell koppies female or they die a violent death. Sunsetbend female, saseka female and kapen female on mala mala were mauled by lions. Whitecloth female, Ravenscourt female, makubela female and nyeleti female were killed by other leopards. In fact whenever the cause of death has been known, it is very rarely due to illness, or inability to hunt. I think perhaps the ones that mysteriously disappear are the ones who actually die of these causes leading to the presumption (that I had) that they all die violent deaths.

Margarita Doychinova
Member
Guest

We wish you all the success.

colo43
Member
Guest

wonderful story and Photos.

Jill Grady
Member
Guest

What a beautiful Leopard and such fantastic pictures as well Mike, Rich and Stoff! Are there any thoughts on what could have happened to his mother? At what age does the mother usually leave her cubs on their own to survive? Hopefully he will continue to thrive and live a good, long life.

Rich Laburn
Head of Digital

Hi Jill, at the moment we still have no clues as to what happened to the Vomba Female. Read this post by Tom Imrie which sums it up – http://blog.londolozi.com/2013/09/who-has-seen-the-vomba-female/

A mother will usually leave her cubs between the age of 12 – 24 months depending on the success of her litter and density of prey + other predators/territorial leopards.

Thanks for your comments and well wishes for the Vomba Young Male.

Byron Ross
Member
Guest

I remember the Vomba female from my guiding days at Londolozi. She was still young then and difficult to find and follow. Many a ranger came undone and got stuck fast or stranded whilst trying to follow her in the dry riverbed North of Vomba dam to the sand river. But her coat was spectacular!

Judy Guffey
Member
Guest

Little boys never learn when “enough is enough”….Mom wants some downtime. Great shots and history of this young leopard.

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