Involved Leopards

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

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Ndzanzeni 4:3 Female

Ndzanzeni 4:3 Female

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Nanga 4:3 Female

Nanga 4:3 Female

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About the Author

James Tyrrell

Photographic Guide/Media Team

James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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20 Comments

on Can Leopards Change Their Spots?

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Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

Interesting information James. I always knew about the spot pattern from game drives at Londolozi and the blog, but found it confusing to try and identify it myself. This should be more helpful.

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Marinda,
Other areas use different techniques for leopard identification, such as the ring of spots around their necks that look almost like collars, but we’ve found this to be the simplest over the years 🙂

Darlene Knott
Senior Digital Ranger

Terrific explanation, James. Identifying the animals must take quite a bit of practice and sharp eyes. I think I will leave that to the professionals! 😂

Judith Guffey
Senior Digital Ranger

I agree….leave it to those who see the spots more than once.🌑🐘

Denise Vouri
Master Tracker

Thank you for this tutorial on how leopards are identified. I had been a bit confused by the spot markings, but you’ve done a great job clarifying the the patterns and where they’re located. I’m fascinated by these felines and you are fortunate to have so many on the property. Cheers!

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Denise,
Thanks for the comments.
Fortunately we’re able to see them regularly enough to actually warrant an effective system!
Best regards

Michael & Terri Klauber
Digital Tracker

Thanks for the leopard lesson James! We always wondered if the markings change from cub to adult!

Mary Beth Wheeler
Guest contributor

A good review for me, James – thanks! I’ve wondered if cubs have the same/related spot patterns to their mothers? Nkveni’s 2 cubs seem to have had patterns similar to hers…

Ian Hall
Senior Digital Ranger

And it is that attention to detail that marks out Londolozi from the rest.

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

HI Ian, thanks for the comments.
Interestingly enough I think it was in the very early days of Londolozi that this system was developed. It must have been in the early 80s, and is recounted in Lex Hes’ book, The Leopards of Londolozi, how they came up with it…
Best regards

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

Very interesting post! Was always curious as to why the leopards had that number combo, thanks for clearing that up! Always nice to know how to correctly id leopards

Jeff Rodgers
Senior Digital Ranger

Great explanation of what those numbers mean . . . even after 7 visits to Londolozi I always wondered about that.

Fantastic, amazing information. Thank you. Now I know! Too beautiful
know these things!

A B
Explorer

Definitely more clearer to me now! Informative post…I’m also curious how do the leopards get their names ?

Linda Polley
Explorer

Thanks James. I have often thought about how you recognize them, and also would like to know how they get their respective names?

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi AB and Linda,
The leopards are named after some prominent or defining feature in their territories, and only once they become territorial.
For instance, the Nanga female is named after a road that runs through the centre of her territory, while Nkoveni means “in the river”, as this is where she spends a lot her time.
For a more detailed explanation, refer to this blog from a couple of years ago: http://blog.londolozi.com/2013/06/25/re-naming-londolozis-latest/
Best regards,
James

Ian Thomas
Guest contributor

Interesting and crystal clear. Well done! Have you ever seen or heard of a 5?

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Ian,
Thanks for the comments.
Yes, a couple of times.
The Tugwaan male was 5:4, his son the Dudley Riverbank male was 5:5, and the Emsagwen male was even a 6:4.
There is also a female living in the north now called the Ingrid Dam Young female who is a 5:5 as well.
I don’t know if you’ve visited the Leopards of Londolozi website, but if not check out http://leopards.londolozi.com/leopards/ for all the individuals and their respective spot patterns.

Best regards

James

Ian Thomas
Guest contributor

Hi James, Thank you, I find this very interesting. I am also a bit confused, the page that I reach from your article is slightly different to the one that I reach from the link in your reply. One has more information than the other. I am sure that I am doing something incorrectly or are there two pages.
Another question; do you have any information on a leopard called Tyson?
Warm regards

Ian

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Ian,

If the link I sent doesn’t work, try visiting leopards.londolozi.com, then in the top right click on the three little stripes, which is a drop down menu that will take you to the “Meet the Leopards” section, which is where you’ll find all the individuals.

Tyson was a male who we called the Marthly 3:2 male, who came in from the north, dominated the Sand River for a couple of years from around 2011, then disappeared in 2015 after he had been ousted from his territory. His profile is on the website above. There have been lots of posts about him on the blog; if you use the Search feature it should bring up a number of them.

Best regards

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