Over the last few days, I have received a barrage of emails from guests expressing their shock and sadness over the death of the Piva male leopard. Some knew him and watched him grow from a young cub to a mature male while others only saw him for a fleeting few moments. Regardless of the length of time spent with him though, it seems his presence always made an impact on those that saw him; possibly more than with any other leopard who has died on Londolozi in the last few years. His photographs adorn homes all over the world and the emails pouring in filled with stories, memories and condolences have been quite astonishing. This is why today we hand the blog over to you, our guests, to celebrate this magnificent cat from your lenses and perspectives.
Words from Londolozi Guest, Irene Nathanson: Each time I visit Londolozi I feel like I am coming home. Home to me is where I feel welcome and reconnect with those I have grown connected to. For me the people and the animals make me feel like I belong. Many people think, as I did, that a trip to Londolozi is a trip of a lifetime but soon realize that once is never enough. Many who have returned and even those who have not visited, become attached to the lions and leopards that Londolozi is known for. Unfortunately sometimes, as with family, we lose the ones we love way too soon. The same can be said for the Piva male leopard. I only saw him for the first time two years ago on a game drive with Ranger Trevor McCall-Peat. We saw him twice during that stay. On one occasion he was just resting in the shade on a hot October day in 2015 and the other he lay draped over a fallen tree; his strong features making him easy to identify.
On my most recent trip, I also got to see him twice with my Ranger, James Souchon. James was able to keep the vehicle ahead of him so I could capture his beauty as he slowly walked towards and then past our vehicle. The last time I saw him was in the morning light among the moist grass; relaxed and stunning. I say goodbye as I write this with tears in my eyes. His face adorns the walls of my home. He lives on…
Directly descended from the original mother leopard and therefore part of the royal lineage of Londolozi.