There were a surplus of leopard and lion shots during April 2015.
This got me particularly excited as the whole point of this series was to highlight the changes in the popuations and attached dynamics of the big cats over a five year period.
Some of them are still around, many are not.
See which ones you recognize:
The Sparta pride is currently down to only one lioness, way in the south of the Sabi Sand Reserve. I seem to recall hearing that she was raising cubs as of a month or two ago cut I’ll need to confirm that. The pride was essentially pushed out by the Ntsevu lionesses, who now control almost the same territory their predecessors once did, so I guess in terms of lion viewing, it was an almost exact substitution.
The Nkoveni female was just starting to set up territory back in 2015. I seem to remember that this sighting was one of the first times I’d seen her actively scent marking.
The Nanga female featured far more prominently in our sightings database during 2015. The cub pictured here sadly didn’t survive, and we had to wait over a year for her to birth her first successful litter, the surviving female of which she has since ceded her territory to.
The current Tsalala lioness, aged almost two years old back in 2015.
Two of her brothers play in the Sand River in the same sighting.
The Nkoveni female again, who was featuring almost daily in Londolozi’s game drives. She has since dropped off the radar, having to all appearances ceded territory to her daughter the Plaque Rock female.
This was an infamous sighting for me. The Marthly male – pictured – was recently nomadic, having been ousted from his territory. From what we could tell, he had just killed the cubs of the Tutlwa female only minutes before, who was denning them up on a rocky outcrop just behind and to the left of where the male is coming from in this picture.
The Mhangeni pride at full size, with not all of its members pictured. Some of the young lions pictured hare are the current Ntsevu females.
Male lions come and go, and many only pass through for a couple of weeks. This was the Fourways coalition I think, one of successive pairs of males who attempted to fill the vacancy left by the Majingilane.
An obligatory non-big-cat shot to maintain diversity. An impala at a lower shutter speed.
Many of you may remember the Island female; the first daughter of the Tamboti female to survive. She subsequently moved/was forced out of the area and established territory to the east of Londolozi.
The Gowrie male was one I didn’t see all that often, as is the case with many males that inhabit the northern sector of Londolozi. Here he had been mating with the even more rarely seen Ximpalapala female, and had killed a warthog between mating bouts.
The Ximpalapala female herself, skittish at the best of times, was for some reason relaxed during this sighting. This was one of only a handful of photos I ever managed to take of her.
The Marthly male again. Ousted as a territorial male, he was forced to eat anything he could find, which included this buffalo carcass which he scavenged off before the Tsalala pride found it.