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James Tyrrell


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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on Young Leopard Turns One Year Old: Should We Celebrate?

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I am positive that this young female will survive. Is she the first cub to be raised succesfully by the Nkoveni female?

Hi Marinda,
Yes if she makes it she will be. This is the Nkoveni female’s third attempt at raising cub(s).

Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday NYF! Happy Birthday to you! (Hip-hip Hooray and all that!) Life and The Blessings of Life be upon you, little sister – may you walk long, safely and happily in the lands of your ancestors!

So glad that the Tamboti young female is thriving. I hope she is as pretty as her momma was!

Hello James!
Wonderful to read! I really hope she will be very sucessful and strong as a young lady leopard and that she will have a long life! Thank you for an interesting article, as usual!

Cheers to the Nkoveni young female and may she continue to grow and develop into a competent and strong leopard. Knowing that a new generation of leopards have survived past the danger stage, I wonder where they will be able to carve out their own habitat, given the territorial animosity of the 8-11 year old males……as they say, watch this space.

Also noteworthy is how the cub scanned the area after it dropped the monkey–before it picked it up again.

I understand the “points on each cheek” identifier but where does the name come from? Where you first spot her or where you believe she was born? And does that name designation ever change?

Hi Bob and Lucie,

Leopards are assigned their mothers’ name with the addition of ‘young’ preceding their sex until such time as they start establishing territory. Once we see them starting to scent mark and vocalise, attempting to proclaim an area as their, we get together as a ranger and tracker team and pick a name based on the area the leopard is inhabiting, eg. a prominent road, waterhole or feature.
Does that make sense?

James, We are always ready to celebrate the ones that make it, but the fact that so many do not, as sad as it is, is “the way of the wild”… Looking forward to meeting this young one on our next visit!

I’m so glad she’s thriving. She was probably days old when we visited last year. We knew the Nkoveni female had given birth, but no one had seen the cub(s?) yet. We also saw the Tamboti young female with her mother before she passed. Knowing they’re both alive brings me so much happiness. I’d love to return in a few years to see one or the other (or both) raising cubs of her own.

James, question. Doesn’t calling all these sub-adult leopards Nkoveni Young Female, Ingrid Dam Young Female, etc get confusing, especially when some (like IDYF) have been used before? Why not give them names that have some sort of meaning in Shangaan (like Hosana or Thamba)? I know Londolozi prefers using territorial markers and the like, but I don’t understand the naming process that well. Any help or explanation on it would be appreciated 🙂

Hi Michael,

No it shouldn’t get confusing as it is only a temporary name, and only refers to the current sub-adults. There won’t be any overlap, and the only confusion that might arise would be if two leopards of the same sex form the same litter survive to independence (which hasn’t happened since the Maxabene brothers (2008) survived). They were then differentiated by their. It’s a time-honoured system that was designed for the rangers and trackers to monitor and keep track of the individuals, and we feel that not attaching “male” or “female” starts to make it more like a pet name, and detracts significantly from the wildness of the animal…

Ah, ok. Thank you for the explanation!

James such great photography. Thanks again

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