The Camp Pan male leopard is no more.
This is not actually the case, but given that this is the first of April and the leopard himself is certainly getting older, I thought it might be interesting to consider what would happen should he pass on into the happy hunting grounds of the sky, and we had to come up with a eulogy for him.
Having said that, I think I’ll rather leave the eulogy part to Tom Imrie, who has a way with words with this kind of thing, as can be read in his tributes to the Tsalala tailless lioness (older one), the old Sparta lioness and the Nottens female leopard.
What fascinates me is the shift in the leopard dynamics that would invariably take place should the Camp Pan male be dethroned.
It nearly happened in early 2011, when the Dudley Riverbank 5:5 male was moving in from the South. Fortunately for him, the 5:5 male moved further east, and the Camp Pan male was able to hold on a little while longer. He was fighting a losing battle, however, as the Marthly male was encroaching steadily from the North, and now holds sway over the prime real estate of the Sand River along the entire Londolozi river frontage and even further East. The Camp Pan male has been forced further South, effectively into the area that the 5:5 male grew up in and launched his assault from. The Tugwaan male has suffered from the knock-on effects of this conflict, also being forced further south and east by the larger Camp Pan male. The Tugwaan male, once a stalwart of our leopard viewing in the southern areas, has not been seen on Londolozi for about a year now.
So who would stand to gain from the demise of the Camp Pan male? If you look at the map below, you can see the most likely leopards that border his territory. The Tu-Tones male in fact, not indicated on the map, has shown considerable overlap of territory with the Camp Pan male, who is his father, and for some reason has been tolerated in the area, even when mating with the same female!
Five different males form a ring around the Camp Pan male’s territory, but he his holding fast, relying on his enormous size to ward off all-comers. Will it even be one of the above-mentioned leopards who overthrow him, or will a vagrant male wander in from elsewhere in the reserve or even the vast wilderness that is the Kruger Park? For that matter, will it even be an overthrow of territory that removes him once-and-for-all from Londolozi?
An old leopard like the Camp Pan male will be entering a steady decline in muscle mass, and as the weeks and months go by, he will become just that little bit weaker and that little bit slower, until eventually one of the younger usurpers that constantly eye the borders of his territory will move in to finally pressure him out of it, or another predator like a lion will catch him off guard, his reaction time will be too slow, he will be too weak to defend himself, and he will be killed.
Two years ago we thought we were seeing the last of the Camp Pan, a leopard who has been prominent on Londolozi for the better part of a decade, which is no mean feat for a male in this area of fierce competition.
He has exceeded our expectations though and is still going strong. Will it be a year or even two before we finally no longer hear his deep, rasping territorial call, or will 2014 be the year of Camp Pan’s swan song?
Your thoughts below, if you please…
Written and Photographed by James Tyrrell
THANKS VERY MUCH, YOU NEARLY HAD ME FOR A SECOND!
LONG LIVE THE KING INDEED, HE IS A SURVIVOR AND I AM SURE THAT HE WILL STILL BE AROUND FOR A WHILE, LETS AT LEAST HOPE SO!
THANKS FOR THE BLOG ON HIM AND FOR THE GREAT PHOTOGRAPHS.
Camp Pan male…what a legend!I think the Tu Tones male will be the one who dethrones him.How they compare size wise?
Niiiiiice! Good one. Hope you’re doing well. Keep up the usual fantastic work.
THAT WAS JUST MEAN! My heart stopped when I saw the headline and read the first line….I was hesitant to even open the blog as I hate to hear of the loss of any of the animals. MEAN, MEAN, MEAN!
Oh How CAN you do this ….I have so sad…. Long live to the king of Londolozi ,my favorit leopard.
Shame on you, James – you scared the h__ out of me! Camp Pan is the Leopard King! He’s my iPhone wallpaper and his portrait hangs in my home. May he continue to meet every challenge and challenger!
It is ever easy to be a cat !
Hi James ,
It is so sad to read about this but unfortunately that is the way life goes.We had at least some lovely stories about him plus some really magnificent photos and we shall remember him forvever
Great post! The opening line had me gasping for a minute until I remembered it was April Fools Day!
Seriously, I had not really thought about this before. I think the Tu-Tones Male will gain the most advantage from his fathers demise, but it will affect all of the surrounding males.
Anything could happen, but I think the wily Camp Pan Male will be around another 2 years.
I also think he may be around for at least another year.. He is a smart leopard, and sometimes the experience and smarts carry them on far longer that what we ever thougtht.. Safari was around for near 18 yrs.. I know she is a female but still some of these very smart cats know how to survive longer than others.. Camp Pan is a stunning cat and whoever takes over will have earned the right to be the
“Leopard King”.. Thank you for sharing and I hope Tom Imire doesn’t have to write that eulogy for a long time to come.
We had the pleasure of following and watching Camp Pan Male take down a male impala in 2011. His size, strength and speed made such an impression that we returned in October 2013 to (hopefully) see him again. During our 4 day visit, he was not located. We felt deprived.
Now, we look at this blog every few days hoping to get updated on his activities. When we read this headline, we felt as if we’d lost a ‘pet’. Strange but true. While we understand his reign will come to an end, please don’t make us grieve prematurely but do keep us updated.
nasty nasty nasty to scare us like that. I think tu tones will inherit his fathers crown. thanks for the article