The Tamboti female has been the power-house of female leopards in the south east of Londolozi for more than a year now. She has prime territory with very little interference from other females in that area. She has, however, had a tough time due to the instability of the males in the region. There has been a fair amount of change over the course of the last year and it hasn’t been easy for the courageous female.
There was a time, not too long ago, in the south east of Londolozi that I remember quite distinctly. It was a time when a leopard calling, or impala alarm calling, would more than likely lead to the discovery of the Camp Pan male, still in his prime, walking with confidence down the Maxabeni river bed. His presence seemed solid when I first saw him, but soon his time at the top was being eroded. This slow erosion- and almost interference- came from his own offspring, the Tu Tones male. It is not something often seen and we found ourselves witnesses to a competition between father and son for the same piece of land. The rights to the land soon fell out of the bloodline when there was a surge from the south. The Piva male came in and laid claim to the much sought after south east. Through all of the turmoil over the last couple of months, the Tamboti female showed her resilience and managed to get her daughter to independence.
The raising of a leopard cub in an area with one of the highest leopard densities in Africa is no mean feat. Competition is fierce and the will to continue their genes is something that is inherent in male leopards. In an area where roughly 40% of all leopard cubs are killed by males other than their father, speaks volumes for the mothering skill of the Tamboti female. Considering the influx of male leopards, and the large amount of resident lions and hyena, the Tamboti young female had a solid foundation to use to her advantage when setting up territory of her own. The following months will be interesting now that the Tamboti female is ready to produce again.
The Piva male offers indirect protection and security for the Tamboti female. With this male providing stability once again to the area she holds as her own, we hope in the next couple of months that this will result in a new generation of the beautiful sunset bend lineage. Time will tell, but we are all very happy to see some consistency, and a little pressure off of the beautiful leopard we know as the Tamboti female.
Written and photographed by Simon Smit