Involved Leopards

Piva 3:2 Male

Piva 3:2 Male

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Tamboti 4:3 Female

Tamboti 4:3 Female

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About the Author

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 What Happened 5 Years Ago? #5

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James some amazing shots. “Dinner is Served”

Wonderful memories. I have read that the Sparta pride is still around in the reserve although much smaller now.

Hi Marinda,
Yes they are still around (two lionesses) and seen regularly in southern Mala Mala and on Kirkman’s. I believe one of the lionesses is currently raising cubs that were conceived through the Avoca males…

If I remember correctly this was the year when the lack of rain and lack of rain caused the buffalo herds to be decimated be the lions as they were struggling to find enough to eat. We were thrilled to see that the herds were thriving this past January. Hope that continues ! Victoria

Hi Victoria,
It was actually the following two years in which the rains failed; the height of the drought occurred towards the end of 2016. The cow in this instance just happened to be sick and in poor condition as a result.
Yes, it’s so great to see how the herds have recovered to some extent!

At that time neither the word “Trump”, nor the word “Ramaphosa” were words associated with the word “President”. It would have been interesting if someone had kept simple meteorological information such as rainfall and daily maximum and minimum temperatures which would help explain the flowing river and the greenery. Maybe such records would be available at Skukuza airport?

Hi Darryl,
There certainly are records available. The greenery is affected by local rains, but the flow of the Sand River is dictated far more by rainfall up in the catchment to the west of us, and subsequently influenced by usage downstream, both by dams and extraction for farming. The impact of the latter two are hard to measure…

James, what beautiful memories🤗

Interesting scrapbook of photos from 2014. You have to admire the tenacity of the Sparta Pride to bring down that old cow, considering the bulls were around to harass them!

Hi James. I know that a lot of people quote about kills being a natural cycle of nature. I understand this. But quite honestly the very last thing I ever want to see is something like this. It is all very well for me to tell myself not to be so stupid, but if I was with a Landrover of people who wanted to sit and watch this, I would shut my eyes and simply not all and try to blot out the noise as well. I am happy to watch predators eat but I hate the way they have to prepare their meals! Wendy M

Hi Wendy,
It can be a difficult ting to watch, especially when it comes to Lions and buffalo, in which the whole thing can take a long time and the animal is clearly in distress.
Sometimes as you say, the best thing is just to close your eyes and block your ears until it’s over…

Master Tracker

It’s the sounds as much as the sights…
They seem to get edited out where TV is concerned.

October 2014 I was there on drive with you when you took the zebra photo. That was the same day we spent time with nkoveni in the tree. I wasn’t there when the buffalo walked into the lions but I recall hearing about it on radio. Funny we were just talking about how October is my favorite time to visit Londolozi.
So great to see you today!!! Safe travels back to your wonderful world of nature…..keep tracking

Yip, Zebra photo was the day with the wild dogs, unless I’m much mistaken…? 🙂

You are correct. How did you remember that??? I went back to my photos and there they were in the same batch…wild dogs. we also saw elephants fighting and tsalala pride with tailess.
Great photos I like the lion crossing the river and the lioness shaking herself dry

Great blog and nice to see the leopard bio’s back in the blog. We remember the sightings but their bio’s are not always included. Also, how about sharing your photographic talents at shooting birds in flight?

Senior Digital Ranger

Good afternoon James!
In reading the short stories describing each picture you took, I can understand your feelings about seeing the final moments of the buffalo’s life amidst the lions “quest for survival” – to achieve a meal to eat.” It truly speaks the depth of your heart and your compassion for the wild life.
All the more, within the content of the photos, I found the looks on the lions faces to be so “human like,” .. that you can’t help but see them as being filled with their own character and personalities, that just brings a smile to the day.
I especially love the picture of the Tsalala Lioness shaking herself off after being in the water. The up-close detail captured, .. from her facial feature with her left eye being shut while shaking off, to the splashes of flying water droplets is just fabulous! You can actually sense the lioness’s feeling. The full detail within that picture is just exceptional!
I found the expression of “friendship and camaraderie” shared between the lions to be so sweet. It makes me wonder if lions can actually share their “thoughts” through communicating their own “energy” with the other lion(s) they are next to, or are playing with?
The vividness of all that you capture creates the possibility to connect from afar, the splendor of South Africa and the wild life.

Senior Digital Ranger

Another added note in thought,.. (I hope you’ll forgive me for this James,..)
When you’ve been a cat owner for almost two decades, you can’t help but see the lionesses as nothing more than over grown cats! The personalities on the lionesses faces doesn’t depict a predator!
Please don’t take this as “Insensitive” as I know you mentioned James, that it’s still difficult for you to see that picture of the lionesses taking down the Buffalo. For me, Seeing the grouping of the lionesses, especially the one on the left with it’s paw up, reminds me so much, of my three cats when they’d be given fresh chicken for a snack. Their personalities were IDENTICAL to the lionesses! They too would growl to protect their portion from being taken by one of their buddies. – This said, the photo of the take-down is so vivid that you can literally here the sounds of the lionesses probably snarling and growling whilst their hunger, as they took the buffalo down. I guess it is fair to say that animals have their own “narrative.”

Photo of the leopard rosettes even better the second time around!

Great selection of photos James! The hyena one is one of my favorites! Amazing how much has changed just in regards to the individual animals and the environment of Londolozi.

Do you know who sired the last two Sparta females? Btw this was a fantastic and emotional stroll down memory lane.

James, fantastic memories of five years ago. My wife, Kate and I were with you on the day the pride took down the buffalo. It truly was an unforgettable experience as the lions battled with the buffalo herd over the poor female. Nothing you see on television can prepare you for the ferocity (and brutality) on display – from all the animals involved, on both sides. It was hard to watch but ultimately, it is animals striving to survive in the wild, as they have to do every day.

We had a fantastic few days in Londolozi back in 2014 and really must try and return some day to enjoy the experience all over again!

Digital Ranger

James, your eye and ear provide moments of intrigue. Regarding the aged buffalo cow, I can relate. Our end may, or may not, be peaceable. About female leopards mating with all males, in her vicinity, or not: after having been a viewer of South African live streams since 2006, I still do not understand how each one of the males knows if he has mated with any one female. To my way on thinking, memory is imputed. Really?

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