The Nhlanguleni female is one individual who has been slipping under the radar over the last four months. She was in the spotlight early this year as she had a litter of two cubs that were viewed for two months west of the Londolozi camps. They have not been seen since, thus we assume that they are no longer around. This happens quite frequently in the leopard world, as male leopards’ territories shift and infanticide occurs as males strive to rid their territories of any genes that are not their own.
The last time we saw the Nhlanguleni female was in early May. We had our suspicions that she may be carrying cubs, however deciphering between a full cat and a pregnant cat can be tricky. Our most recent sighting of her was in late June and we are starting to think that she may have cubs on the way soon.
If we do the maths, the Flat Rock male and the Nhlanguleni female were seen mating in early March this year. Leopards have a gestation period of three and a half months. Thus, if the copulation resulted in conception, cubs should be expected in late June. If my calendar is correct, that is around about now! Exciting times…
Initially skittish she spent a lot of time in the Sand River, now relaxed she makes up the majority of leopard viewing west of camp.
In the most recent sighting, she was lazing on a sandy bank of the Sand River with a very large belly. The Flat Rock male, whom with we saw her mating several months ago, happened to cross the sandy beach within view of her about 200m away. Interestingly there was no interaction between them that we witnessed. If she was in oestrus, we would have expected her to present herself to him to instigate mating. Neither him nor her were too concerned with each other and he was seen the next morning far away on a territorial patrol.
Only time will reveal wether our suspicions are correct with regards to her pregnancy. I am going to be an optimist in this case and reckon that within the next few weeks we may be treated to some more leopard cub viewing on Londolozi…
A dominant male leopard over the majority of the north. He originally took over the 4:4 Male's territory when he died.