About a month ago we shared a post where Jess MacLarty, a ranger of 7 years, reminisced about her guiding years in a beautiful journal of images. As promised we now bring you part 2. As with so many of our guides, Jess had a real love for Londolozi’s leopards and this post is therefore dedicated to some of these beautiful cats.
The Tamboti female leaps across a small rivulet. The jump for her cub, however, being not quite as easy.
The Gowrie male and Nanga female snap at each other as they break apart during a mating session. By mating with many different males during her oestrus period, she hopes to protect her possible future litter.
One of the Tamboti female’s cubs (late 2015 litter) at about 6 weeks old. Despite the cubs starting to gain confidence, they don’t stray too far from their mother at this age.
A photograph of the Nkoveni female, known as the Mashaba young female at the time, as watches her mother from the comforts of a Marula tree.
The Mashaba female scans the Sand River for any sign of a potential meal. We have been fortunate to watch this female leopard from a very young age and today she still holds a territory around Londolozi’s camps.
The Tamboti female keeps an eye on her second cub (late 2015 litter) as it strays from the den. At this point she was keeping the cubs in the root system of a fallen tree.
The Tamboti female grooms one of her cubs (late 2015 litter) whilst it tries to play with her.
One of the Tamboti female’s cubs suckles (late 2015 litter) while she keeps a look out. The cubs will drink milk for about 8-10 weeks before being taken to their first kill.
The Maxabene female and her two young males feast together on a male nyala. The leopard shown in this picture is one of the youngsters, now known as the Makotini male as he and a hyena watch some circling vultures. The most amazing this about this sighting was how the leopard and hyena fed side-by-side, seemingly unphased by each other’s presence.
The Tamboti female rests on a fallen log. It is amazing how leopards can make any perch look comfortable.
The Nanga female and Gowrie male mate. The Gowrie male has not been seen in many months and is believed to be deceased.
The Mashaba female plays with her most recent cub on a drizzly summer’s morning. The cooler temperatures seemed to give these two cats a new-found energy and they played with each other for hours.
One of Nanga’s cubs from 2015, drinks from below it’s mother. Being around water has its inherent dangers like crocodiles, hippos and other large predators and cubs often drink close to their mother’s for safety.
All photographs by Jess MacLarty