Involved Leopards

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

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Flat Rock 3:2 Male

Flat Rock 3:2 Male

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About the Author

Nick Kleer

Field Guide

Nick joined the Londolozi team from Thornybush Game Reserve, and immediately began revealing his photographic potential, especially in the passion with which he pursued knowledge. An almost fanatical approach to improving his photography has seen him gain a rapid understanding of all the ...

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16 Comments

on How Far Would You Go To Protect Your Offspring?

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This is SUCH an interesting blog! Thank you! The Nkoveni female did a great job protecting her female cub. I am so happy to hear that she is ok!

Leonie De Young
Explorer

A nice blog Nick and thanks for explaining the behavioural patterns of the leopards. It is very sad that one cub was killed, but let us hope that the other will survive. It is a tough life for animals in the wild. Thank you.

Denise Vouri
Digital Tracker

Wonderful photos and an informative story about the protective instincts of female leopards. I believe male lions will often commit infanticide but have not heard this to be the case for cheetahs. Is it because the males are more solitary??

Nick Kleer
Field Guide

Hi Denise, all leopards are solitary by nature. This is not the reason for the killing however. A male will kill another males cubs in the hope that the female who mothered them will come into oestrus again. His instincts to sire his own cubs are extremely strong.

Denise Vouri
Digital Tracker

What I was referring to were cheetah males – will they kill their offspring in order to sire more cubs? I know the males are very solitary except when traveling with their brother. Thanks.

Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

Interesting blog Nic. Does more male cubs get killed than female cubs? Did the Flat rock male seek the male cub out or was it a random act? What happened to the cub in the 6 days it was left alone. Did it kill something or just lay low waiting for the mother to return?

Nick Kleer
Field Guide

Hi Marinda, there is no preference for male or female cubs. I think it was a kill because of an opportunity, he wanted the food in the tree and found Nkoveni and her cubs there.

Mary Beth Wheeler
Guest contributor

A sad yet amazing story, Nick. What incredible behavior from Nkoveni to protect her remaining cub – the powerful bond of motherhood! Could this really be all instinct? I suspect not!

Nick Kleer
Field Guide

Hi Mary Beth, I believe it is instinctual behaviour. It may be a response passed down through the years in certain genes. Thank you for the reply.

Thank you for the story Nick – so sad to lose one of the cubs. We had such memorable sightings of them. Which one was killed?

Sally S.
Digital Ranger

Great read Thank you

Jill Larone
Explorer

Nkoveni is an amazing mother, as her mother, Mashaba, is as well. Hopefully her remaining cub will survive, but so sad for the loss of the little male cub. Thank you for your write-up Nick, and beautiful pictures!

Eulalia Angédu
Explorer

Beautiful pictures there.The explanations in your text are quite convincing.Good work Nick.

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

Definetly a well-thought strategy. Heard of this being used by other leopards before, including leopards on Londolozi during which female mated with two rival males (who had killed two of her litters) at different times. I think that leopard’s name was Manana?

Nick Kleer
Field Guide

Thank you all very much for the response. It really means alot.

Pamela Foster
Explorer

No longer living in Africa, your stories bring back memories of what I miss so much. Thank you.

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