Involved Leopards

Mashaba 3:3 Female

Mashaba 3:3 Female

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Chris Taylor


Chris was born and raised in the Kwa-Zulu/Natal Midlands where his family inspired his early passion for the natural world. Exploring Southern Africa as he grew up, this passion was allowed to develop and his curiosity to expand. After high school, Chris spent ...

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on Has the Mashaba Female Forgiven the Ndzanzeni Young Male?

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I understand the law of the jungle is not based on emotion. I do ask where was the Inyathini male while his cubs were being killed and does he just ignore the death of his cubs and extract no revenge? Or is it simply that with the law of the jungle there are no pay backs. I have seen video of some animals going after others after an attack against one of their own so am I right to then assume since Leopards are not pack hunters this is not the case. Finally why would the Inyathini male not mate again with the Mashaba female or has he proven himself unable to protect his Cubs and she knows that. Can you explain

The Inyathini male has a huge territory so was most likely miles away.
I imagine he has no way of knowing who the culprit was, and since males do not really play any part in raising their offspring, his interest in cubs pre-independence is likely minimal. Given that the Ndzanzeni young male is also most likely the Inyathini males son, and there has been relatively peaceful interaction between them before, it was unlikely anything would ever happen unless the Ndzanzeni young male happened to be caught in the act.
The Inyathini male will almost certainly mate with the Mashaba female if he has not done so already. His huge territory may just mean they have not come together yet. Watch out for an update here, as I suspect their mating is inevitable…

Mashaba female stories always seem to bring out the human emotion interpretation.

Thank you Chris. I believe that Instinct plays a powerful part. A concept I know humans don’t fully understand.

Hi Gawie,

Well written for a first post. I am keeping fingers crossed that I will have an opportunity to see either or both of these beautiful leopards in exactly one month during my first visit to Londolozi. Cheers!!

I know this is off topic but I am wondering what has happened to the Tamboti young female since she has lost her mother. I have a wonderful picture of the two of them together.

Hi Leslie,
Good question. She’s alive and well. We’ll run an update on her soon.
Best regards,

This was most probably the saddest sighting we’ve ever encountered at Londolozi, witnessing him feeding on those cubs ….. I know it’s nature but my heart still broke ?

Thanks for the update Chris! We continue to be amazed by the resilience of the beautiful Mashaba!

Actually it’s possible seeing dominant males tolerating their sons who are mating with females. Some months ago the Makhotini male and his son, the White Dam male have mated with the same female(called the Msuthlu female if I remember well) at the same sighting , and the father showed no aggression towards the son. This was reported by Sabi Sabi

Hi Gabriele,
It certainly does happen, and we’ve seen it with the Camp Pan male (father) and Tu Tones male (son) here before.
The Inyathini male’s territory is so big there may even be room for two in the next couple of years…

Maybe she’ll mate with them, and then with one of the more established males like the Flat Rock or Inyanthini?

Hi Callum, I think she’s already been seen mating with the Flat Rock male. Good call.

These animals are on the inborn, instinctive, survival mode; whereas humans tend to overlay their emotions which distorts wildlife’s reality. Neither one can help themselves….

Chris, thank you for this enlightenment into why the male leopard killed the cubs. It makes me feel much better about the female perhaps allowing him to mate with her. We do have to remember not to put human traits and emotions on these beautiful creatures. It is all about protecting their species and genes.

Senior Digital Ranger

How is his mother doing?

She’s well Alessandra. She was seen three days ago lying in a Jackalberry tree. She hasn’t been found too much of late but with so much incredible game viewing on other parts of the reserve not many vehicles have been driving on her territory.

I found this particularly interesting as 3 weeks ago we saw Mashaba moving very purposefully and vocalizing, then soon after we saw the Ndzanzeni young male also scent marking and vocalizing. Although they must have been quite close they didn’t meet up. Despite the cub killing, he’s still 1 of my favourites – the 1st time we came in 2010 we saw the Dudley Riverbank female, then I next saw her 2 years later with her female cub, who was only 1 month old! 4 years later I then saw her again, now called Ndzanzeni and suckling her own 2 month cubs. I have a lovely picture of him and it was wonderful to see him another 2 years on. And of course he is Londolozi royalty!

Great blog Chris. I agree, humans assign far to too much emotion to these animals. We want to humanize them but we’ve got to realize that they probably do not even know about our existence except when we interfere with nature.

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10 April, 2798
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