Involved Leopards

Senegal Bush 3:3 Male

Senegal Bush 3:3 Male

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Nkoveni 2:2 Female

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

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Ximungwe 5:3 Female

Ximungwe 5:3 Female

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About the Author

Nick Sims

Alumni Field Guide

Nick was a ranger at Londolozi from 2018 - 2022. He always had a love for nature. Growing up in Johannesburg, the annual family trip to the bush (particularly the Kruger Lowveld region of South Africa) became an escape from city life. When ...

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Hi Nick the Ximungwe female made me smile! She was really brave and has such a funny expression… leopards are among the most beautiful and expressive animals on earth! The male was obviously stressed by the Nkoveni female already… I am sorry for these masterpieces of nature as they are constantly harassed by hyenas and now lions rob their kills they do have a hard life

I was also impressed at how brave she was!

I started out saying I prefer leopards to any other animal, but then realized it is not true. I really like them all, whether big or small. But somehow the leopards always get into things, which make them very interesting…..

Wow, what interactions you witnessed! Very exciting! I am worried for the leopards though with tree climbing lions!

Wow that is amazing that these two half sisters could even attempt steeling the majestic Senegal bush male’s kill. He was adamant that they won’t get his kill. All three leopards are so beautiful and each one has a special place in my heart. Awesome sighting thanks Nick, beautiful foto’s and video.

Nick, What a fantastic experience! We loved seeing Mashaba’s daughters in action! Would the females ever connect in a positive way or would they always be at odds? We have seen a father with a mother and sub-adult together (in a tree in close contact) at Londolozi a few years ago (Wow!) but never two males or females interacting.

Hi Michael and Terri. Yes is it was funny to see both of the Mashaba female’s daughters squaring off like that. Most of the time the two females would act with hostility towards each other as illustrated in this instance. It would be unusual to see them interact in a positive way… but you never know, nature has ways of surprising us!

Yowse! Tree-climbing lions are another challenge for the leopard population! I hope they can manage to avoid disaster by learning some lion-evading techniques.

Mind-blowing story, yes leopards can be social but not so much when it’s all about food…

What great interactions of these three leopards. It must have been so frustrating for the Ximungwhe female that she didn’t get even one bite of the meat dangling in front of her. The sightings of the leopards have indeed been totally amazing again in the last two weeks.
Leopards are such gorgeous creatures, just admirable!

To think either of these females could steal a kill from the Senegal Bush male makes me smile. Neither is a match size wise…. actually I would think sneaking back to eat a bit after he left, would have been a better idea, but now it seems the lions have been perfecting their climbing skills, so now if one leaves their kill it’s open season for all! Loved this sighting report- I would have loved see this action.

That’s as much snarling as I have heard. Also, the Nkoveni female got down that tree very quickly.

It seems nothing is safe in a tree anymore ! What with 3 competing leopards and those hungry Ntsevu lions. Fantastic sighting 🙏❤️. With so much game to choose from one would think there shouldn’t be a problem but it seems they all like the same butcher ,😊😉..great blog and video Sean !

I think the ladies were just trying to persuade him to share the bounty…hahaha. wonderful photos and video of an amazing discussion between three absolutely gorgeous leopards.

Love the ongoing leopard soap opera! Always fascinating! And I hope that they all watch out for the Ntsevus…..

The video shows a brief encounter with three leopards vying for the males leopard’s kill which is epic. To me, this short video also shows possibly there are more interactions than we realize. We know for the most part that leopards are solitary, but will abandon that when it comes to food which is an on-going for them.

I agree, there must be tons of interactions like this that we just don’t see.

It is fascinating to see this interaction between leopards and then to have lions be the ultimate winners of the kill. Nature really is moment to moment adapting to change.

Hi Nick! Does the Senegal Bush Male pose any threat to either female’s cubs? Is he a potential father of either or both litters?

Hi Michael! The Senegal Bush male has mated with both the Ximungwe female and the Nkoveni female so he won’t be a threat to either sets of cubs, thankfully.

Senior Digital Ranger

Hey Nick! :-),.. Gotta share something fun with you, relative to your blog for today. –
As a “cat mom,” (going on 18 years), when I had my first brood of three, my son had told his friends to call me “Mama Lioness.” For the past year, I have had an extra special cat, as she is 5/8’s Savannah. Her facial markings, or should I say coloring is IDENTICAL to that of a lion cub. More so, even from the get go, her first intake baby picture (I SWEAR!!) looks like a cross of a Cheetah and Leopard. Her mannerism’s though, are extremely polite and gently, less the “typical Hiss” that Savannah’s make, added to her “occasional” lioness like swat!
Where I’m going with this is, .. When I had my first three, they acted JUST LIKE what you show in your pictures of the Leopard in the tree protecting it’s food! When they were given a late night snack of chicken or shrimp, I remember the mama cat putting her paw on her two “siblings” heads FIRMLY so they wouldn’t snag her portion of “meal”. My “middle child” of the brood would GROWL fervently while carefully walking away with his portion in his mouth determined to make sure the other two didn’t grab his. He’d even carry his special stuffed toy while growling to “protect his personal comfort” as if it was his “territory.” Sadly, the “runt” was always gracious and non-aggressive if he lost his piece to the other two.
All in all, it’s ironic how domestic cats resemble the mannerisms of wild cats! I see the same “physical features” in the leopards protecting their meal, yet grant you, their life is much more drastic than that of Domestic cats amidst what they have to do to survive. – I just find it SO INTERESTING to see the lineage within the cat family! From the space of observation, I know I have stated this before, but,.. I find it so fascinating to see the distinctions between a male Leopard vs a female leopard. being their facial features. The Females have such lovely eyes and eyelashes that gives way to their “feminine side (Ha!), vs the males,.. they seem to show themselves as being “firm” and “brute like,”.. a wild cat that knows how to be a “league of its own,” able to stand its ground to protect itself. (ie: the Senegal Bush male)
The black and white picture of the Ximungewe female is JUST BEAUTIFUL! Pure Perfection! (dare I say She looks like an “over grown domestic cat” amidst her poise. She looks so sweet and gentle, while of course, looks are deceiving. – The up-close color picture of her gazing is also wonderful. .. If wild cats could talk, do you ever wonder what they’re thinking as you capture them on film? (if you were to caption them, comically or seriously speaking) 🙂

Hi! Thank you for the comment on the black and white photo! Also, it is amazing how these animals behave and how domestic animals still have some of their wild traits.

Senior Digital Ranger

You’re absolutely right Nick! In contrast, when I brought home the new cat (being a Savannah), she had been “incarcerated in a cage for over 9 months! She didn’t know human life to a great extent! She was super curious about the overhead air conditioner that she had never heard or felt before. – She swatted and swatted at the dishwasher. What has been really interesting is that she DOES NOT like people food, to include fresh fish and chicken, which as norms for Savannahs! She does though, chow down on dry holistic food that’s similar to wild cat food. They say that Savannah’s are messy “carniverous type eaters, but not mine! She acts like a polite house guest! She doesn’t even KNOW how to growl or purr! (which is SO NOT LIKE a Savannah!) But,.. When I look at her paws and facial feautres, that’s what gives proof to her “lineage”.
When I see the pictures, especially with regards to the facial captures of the Ximungwe Female, I can’t tell you the feeling that I get. While there’s that “over-all familiarity” being connected to cats, .. my heart plugs in to the energy you captured amidst the expression of her beauty.
Grant you, I do take into consideration that “looks” are elusive and deceiving when it comes to “cats” in the wild, .. Every detail you captured in that photo is exceptional! (to include being artist!)

I’m surprised the much smaller females were trying to steal from the SGM. I always assumed they were more likely to steal from other females or to lose kills to bigger males. Happy to be corrected by Mother Nature.

Hey Nick – so privileged to have witnessed this scene with you! 30 years of game viewing in the Greater Kruger/Sabi Sand area – and this was by far the best Leopard(s) encounter Laura and I had, – from discovering the kill the previous afternoon, to the shenanigans of those 3 beautiful creatures in that tree the following morning. We’ll cherish the memory, and all the videos we took from your vehicle, for a very long time…

Great post Nick! I love these rare interactions with independent leopards, and capturing them with video makes them even more incredible! Bravo! And the Ximungwe female is a baller!!

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