The life of the Mashaba female is probably one of the most documented of leopards that we get to observe at Londolozi.
The Mashaba female is currently Londolozi’s best-known leopard. Her relaxed nature means she is comfortable around the vehicles.
A few weeks ago we were thrilled to discover her new cub that she had left stashed in a den in the Maxabene river. In the days that followed Pete Thorpe reviewed the footage from the trail-cam that we had left near the den and was astonished to see the Senegal Bush male carrying that same cub out of the den. This is completely undocumented behaviour (as fas as we know) from a male leopard, and left us with a lot of unanswered questions as to the well-being of the cub.
Unfortunately, sightings of the Mashaba female around the den were not happening anymore and we were left thinking that either the cub had been killed and she had moved off or she had just moved the cub to another den which we had not found yet. Either way it became frustrating because we could not find her for quite some time after the incident.
Not too long after that we all decided that we were going to focus on trying to find her one morning. We roped in the Tracker Academy to aid us in our search which was a great call because later that morning we got a radio call from them saying that they had found a female leopard but they were not sure which individual it was. We went straight there and were very excited to discover that it was indeed the Mashaba female.
She was looking quite hungry and seemed to have not eaten in awhile so we were hopeful that she would get up and start hunting and eventually lead us to her cub. As she stood up though we struggled to make out if there were any suckle marks around her teats which immediately called into question if the cub was still alive or not. We were not able to get the best view as she was constantly on the move through some thick bush. We tried to stick with her to get a final answer but we were not able to see anything conclusive.
On one hand, the brief view of her belly that we had without any distinct suckle marks could tell us that she has indeed lost the cub but on the other hand we also know it is not uncommon for a hunting leopard to be away for over a day and perhaps her fur was not showing any obvious signs because she had not nursed her cub in a day or even two. We’ve learnt from the Wild Dog pups, who we thought had been killed only to pop up 10 days later, not to jump to conclusions too quickly and so that’s exactly what we are not going to do.
We are searching for her almost every game drive now and really hope that she has just found another den that she is busy using. Despite leopard cubs’ low survival rates, we know from past experience that anything is possible.
Filed under Wildlife
I really hope the cub is still alive. It was so interesting to learn about the male interaction so it will be very sad to guess that he eventually killed the cub.
Good luck Mashaba lady we keep our fingers crossed!
I do hope the cub is still alive. Will the Senegal Bush male be the culprit if the cub was killed? Will he kill his own cub if he is the father?
Thank you so much for keeping us updated. The patience and skill that goes into what you all do is very much appreciated.
Fingers and toes crossed! – but she has been so unlucky with her litters since she had Ximungwe. Dudley Riverbank was 14 when she had Ndzanzeni (has she been seen at all , haven’t seen her mentioned on the blogs for ages) so she may still have a little more time?
Hoping for a good outcome for this mama and her baby
James, We appreciate the update on the cub! We will hope for a similar outcome as we saw with the wild dog pups! Fingers crossed for good news!
I know it is not uncommon for males to kill cub (even their own) but I hope she has managed to keep this one.. She doesn’t have a good record for raising cubs.. Much like the late female Shadow of the Northern Sands, whose only cub to survive was Sindile.
Fascinating stuff and so great you guys were able to document most of it! Hoping you find the cub alive and well in the next couple of days🤞🏼.
James, wonderful blog today, I wonder how she got suckle marks?
Sending best intentions to the Mashaba female and her cub. This has been an astonishing story to follow and will be looking forward to updates!
Hoping for a good outcome for her and the cub!
Another nail-biter for us to ponder. Does she or doesn’t she still have her cub? I’m wondering if it’s plausible that if the cub is/was a male, would the Senagal Bush male kill him to prevent his reaching maturity? Anyway, keep searching and come back to us with good news.
Oh… another cliff hanger! Truly hope both cub and mom are safe and well
OOOHHWW!! Bless her heart! Mama Leopardess is Beautiful! .. The bush life is what it is, but, .. somewhere within the mama, I would think it must be distressing for her to not have her cub with her! .. I sure hope she finds her cub!
We are all very anxiously awaiting any news of Mashaba and the cub! Your story has set the leopard internet on fire!
once again all fingers crossed! Hope you find the cub alive. toi sad to lose it. Victoria
Fingers and toes crossed!
What incredible beauty, and how sad if the cub has been lost. Hoping for positive news!
I am so hoping the cub is alive, but the male was so aggressive, supplanting the mother as the ‘one’ who retrieved the cub and carried it. I did not understand the Senegal Bush male’s behavior and am afraid it might bode poorly for that tiny little baby!
Oh I so hope you find the baby!! 🤞🏻
So exciting to be able to follow the activity at Londo every week. Crossing our fingers for the best!
Hoping for the best as always and looking forward to the updates
Hi James. I really do hope the cub has made it and is holed up somewhere unknown by you guys as yet. She is a remarkable Leopard. Wendy M
Best wishes Mashaba female
Thank you so much James Souchon
Well lets hope that the cub is still alive