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Sean Cresswell

Safari Guide

Sean is one of the humblest rangers you are likely to meet. Quietly going about his day, enriching the lives of the many guests he takes out into the bush, it is only when he posts a Week in Pictures or writes an ...

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11 Comments

on Leopard Update: Troubled Times for Tutlwa?

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Marinda Drake
Member
Guest

Great blog Sean. Interesting leopard dynamics.

Brian C
Member
Guest

I enjoy the leopard updates. I hope Tutlwa and Mashaba have a better year in 2015 and give birth to litters that survive. Tutlwa is a big, bold, beautiful leopardess who has proven that she can be a successful mother. That being said, it seems like such a tough challenge to raise a cub, especially when multiple males overlap in a female’s territory. In their prime, powerful males like Camp Pan and Marthly male seemed to provide some stability for the females raising cubs within their area of dominance. Those days are gone! Hopefully, Tutlwa will figure out how to get her cubs to independence in these more difficult times. Maybe being secretive will giver her an advantage.

Sean Cresswell
Member
Guest

Yes, Brian, that is spot on. It seems the secretive and elusive nature of her movements may be the best approach. However, we are still not certain whether or not she even conceived recently. She could still be taking a back seat while the area remains unstable… Maybe she will wait for another solid figure like Camp Pan or Marthly before trying to raise another litter.

Jill Grady
Member
Guest

Tutlwa is as beautiful as her father and mother Sean. I’m so sad to hear of the loss of her cubs…life in the wild is certainly very harsh at times. How old is a leopard when they stop having cubs? I am hoping that she stays safe and is able to bring another litter to maturity. Thank you for the update and the stunning images.

Sean Cresswell
Member
Guest

Thank you, Jill. It is interesting as there is no natural stage in a female leopard’s lifetime when she no longer is able to reproduce, and there is the possibility for her to conceive throughout her adult life until her death. However, as she gets older her body will take additional strain during pregnancy and raising of cubs, and so successful rearing becomes less likely. As some females can live close to 20 years (Dudley Riverbank Female is now nearing 17 years of age), I would say that not often past 14 would one expect a leopard to raise a cub or even conceive. Also, remember that they can at any stage fall victim to infertility, as in any other mammals. So, hopefully she still has at least one litter left!

Alex
Member
Guest

You mentioned Anderson male as one of the males that could have killed her cubs,have you started seeing him more often?

Sean Cresswell
Member
Guest

Hi Alex. Yes, in fact we have started seeing more of the Anderson male, but usually further north of Tutlwa’s territory. We have not yet seen him as far south as where we believe she was denning, however that would not be too far for a confident male like Anderson to travel. He has only been seen several times in the last two weeks, in the NW corner of Londolozi.

Alex
Member
Guest

Thank you very much for the information Sean,i believe it’s only a matter of time until Anderson male dominates Marthly.

Jenifer Westphal
Member
Guest

So the Tutlwa female did finally mate with the Gowrie male? That’s exciting as we witnessed the Gowrie male ignoring her! The whole story is fascinating, and even more personal as we’ve been front row viewers…great blog Sean!

Sean Cresswell
Member
Guest

Hi Jenifer, yes the two finally did! Her persistence paid off. We must not wait to see how effective the act was. Front row seats, indeed, keep following and we will update you with the rest as soon as we know! Keep well.

Kim Sams
Member
Guest

Hi Sean! I would love to know if you positively identified the male and female leopards we were lucky enough to witness! Also, did you receive the pictures of the female sitting in the tree? I emailed them to you a few days after Missy and I left Londolozi.

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