The life of the Tamboti young female has been an animated one, followed from only a few weeks old we have seen a cub develop into an incredibly beautiful young female. From the start her inquisitive nature has been apparent and even more so in the last few months. She is growing in not only confidence but also wisdom and showing signs of maturity that will serve her well in the future.
Life over the last year has been relatively smooth going. The Tamboti female, her mother, has proved to be an excellent guardian in an incredibly dangerous part of the reserve. Her territory falls right in the heart of the Sparta pride’s territory and a large hyena den is not too far off but despite this she has managed to successfully raise a cub from her litter of March 2013. The Tamboti young female has eaten from her mother’s kills and was shown exactly where to drink, learning every inch of what could eventually be part of her own territory. Watching her skillful mother hunt she learnt invaluable skills that she would later use and perfect.
The instinctual drive for her mother to mate again has forced her to spend more time alone. Time alone that she is not used to. Her mother’s short hunting trips where she was left alone went from hours to days. She stayed put and hoped for the return of her mother but at times to no avail. Sightings of the two together have become infrequent and the expectation of her independence is approaching.
The skills she has learnt from the countless hours spent with her mother have come in use and this week she was seen with an impala kill that she had made without any sign of her mother. The young leopard even managed to hoist her kill into a tree to keep it out of the reach of hyenas allowing her to finish the majority of it undisturbed. We look forward to seeing a lot more of her as she continues to grow and hopefully set up a territory of her own at Londolozi.
Have you enjoyed following the life of this young leopard? Are there any highlights of her life that you have been a part of or that have meant something to you?
Written and photographed: Simon Smit