Involved Leopards

Mawelawela 3:4 Male

Mawelawela 3:4 Male

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Xinzele 4:4 Female

Xinzele 4:4 Female

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Sean Zeederberg

Blog Editor

As a young boy growing up on an agricultural farm in Zimbabwe, Sean spent every opportunity entertaining himself outdoors, camping in the local nature reserve and learning about all facets of the natural world. After completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental ...

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31 Comments

on Virtual Safari: Ultimate Game Drive Highlights #84

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Suzanne Gibson
Guest contributor

Good grief, Sean – what an amazing Virtual Safari! From the aggression and noise of the feeding lions, to the adorable Xinzele cub, and then her mother seeing off a hyena that’s bigger than her – incredible.
4 weeks and counting……

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you, Suzanne. This week’s virtual safari was pretty intense. All-round enough to keep everyone on the edge of their seats.

Victoria Auchincloss
Master Tracker

i don’t think I have ever seen a leopard take on a hyena! Hope the cub is ok! I have also never so many stuffed lions in a daze from all that food! Thank you Victoria

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

It is fairly uncommon to see a female leopard take on a hyena. She was only brave enough to do that because of her cub being nearby. It just goes to show how protective a mother leopard can be.
The cub was alright, it was seen the next day and all still alive and well.

Christa Blessing
Master Tracker

What an exciting week with so much action going on.
I do hope that the Xinzele female can protect her sweet cub also in the next weeks from any hyenas or other potentially fatal threats. To watch her and hr cub is so beautiful.

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you, Christa. Let’s hope she is able to keep the cub safe, but sadly the odds are stacked against her being a first-time mother.

Francesca Doria
Master Tracker

What a heartbeat! The Xinzele female is such a brave mum! The cub is a masterwork of nature, just too beautiful and lovely with those blue naive eyes… I’m glad all lion cubs are fine, all lions seemed to be fine. Maybe it’s easier to catch a buffalo now that they find less grass to feed on… all lions of all ages were contemporary feeding. The Mawelawela male looks impressive and shy, he checked you all the time. I particularly loved this video full of big cats and cubs

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

The Xinzele Female is such a brave mother and thankfully so, she was able to drive the hyena away. It was indeed a great big cat week.

Debra Matott
Explorer

As usually, some great sightings! The little cubs blue eyes are the most beautiful! Good job, Sean!

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you, Debra. Those little blue eyes are adorable.

Marcia Parker
Senior Digital Ranger

Yes, this weeks video was very intense! Glad the Xinzele leopard made it out of that fight with what looked like a BIG hyena unharmed.

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

It was a very big hyena, thankfully she made it out without any injuries.

Valmai Vorster
Digital Tracker

Wow Sean! my heart nearly stopped when I saw the Xinzele female fighting the hyena off. For a moment I thought what would become of the little cub if it’s mother is killed. So very relieved that she chased the hyena away. The lions had a good meal on the buffalo kill, loved to see the 7 cubs also eating from the kill. Such a outstanding video, thanks Sean your the best.

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

We were very relieved that she managed to get out unharmed and chase the hyena away. It was such an amazing week, thank you.

Leonie De Young
Digital Tracker

Another cat drive Sean. Have to say my heart stopped when the hyaena showed up. Fortunately all ended well. Thanks for sharing with us.

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you so much, Leonie. Ours did too, at the time we didn’t quite know what to do, hoping that all would be alright and that we did not want to be there to witness the cub being killed.

Michael and Terri Klauber
Guest contributor

Sean, Your video DID have us on the edge of our seats! It was clear that the Mawelawela Male had you in his sights constantly. We are sure that he was skittish due to the winds. The lion encounter and closeups of the male were really amazing. Seeing the Xinzele Female in “protective mode” as a first-time mother was a great reminder as to how hard it is for the leopards to protect their young! Thanks for another great week of video!

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Hi Michael and Terri, I think it was probably a combination of the wind and him being so far east into the Senegal Bush Male’s territory that had him on edge.
It is so challenging as a leopard mother out here especially a first-time mother.

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Wow, what an exciting armchair safari today. Definitely big cat day! The Mawelawela male is certainly impressive and looks to be rather young – 5ish? If he’s moving east, then it does create an issue for the Senegal Bush male.
The Nkuhuma pride is looking fit and growing in numbers, probably in part due to the Avoca males. Are they making any moves into the Birmingham’s territory?
But it seems you saved the best for last, showcasing Xinzele and her adorable cub. That little face, gazing up at her mum was heart melting as well as Xinzele’s paw touch to assure her all is well. I’m calling it a female because this little fur ball looks more feminine. Just as I was ready to watch more cub action, the attack on the hyena was insane! I’m so relieved it was sent on its way. Close call. Thanks Sean for keeping us updated.

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Hi Denise, thank you. It was certainly a big cat week and such an exciting one. The Mawelawela Male was born in 2013, so right in his prime at the moment. The leopard dynamics currently are very interesting, there is a fair amount of overlap within the males and their territories. The Senegal Bush Male is pushing his territory further north into an area where we would normally see the Flat Rock Male.

The Avocas are slowly pushing further south into the Birmingham Males’ territory, but the Birmingham Males are spending time quite deep into Dudley.

The cub is still a little bit too young for us to be able to tell the gender just yet but as soon as we can then we will let you know.

it was a very close call, we were elated that both the mother and cub got out unharmed.

Barbara Wallace
Explorer

Wow Sean, what an amazing week! I particularly loved the interaction of the Xinzele Female and her cub. Hearing her chuff and then the cub comes running out, what communication. I never thought about leopards being contact averse and the reasons why that would be. Thanks for the explanation. The lions with their full bellies were quite the sight. A wonderful video.

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Barbara, it was indeed an amazing week. The Xinzele Female and her cub have been spectacular to watch. And then, when the hyena arrived our hearts were in our throats. Thankfully all ended well.

Cally Staniland
Master Tracker

Oh my Sean, what a fabulous week of videos! Had to laugh at the Avoca lion at one point, obviously already full, lying on his side, nearly unable to growl but still giving off a bit of voice there. So much action to rewatch over and over ! As for the last section with the tussle between the Xinsele female and the hyena…my heart was in my throat…as I was convinced when I mistook a red leaf for what I thought was part of the cub that he had managed to kill her cub. What a happy ending. Fascinatingly to learn that spotting a particular leopard, apart from the obvious, is the area around their eyes. Just wow…thanks again 🙏🏻❤️

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

So glad you loved this week’s video. It was an intense week with such great sightings.
We were also convinced that the leaf was some blood but had to double-check a few times before we realised it was a leaf.

@Cally Staniland, I agree with all and too that that red leaf was a piece of the cub. whew- absolutely so very happy it was not.

Ally Blomdal
Explorer

Ah that was brilliant! Loved every second.

Lisa Antell
Digital Tracker

Fantastic sightings! I love seeing Xinzele with her teeny little spotty fluff nugget! And a fierce young mama……yikes! Going after a hyena to protect her little one………eesh. Thankful that she is safe and unharmed and the cubbie too!

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thankfully, she was unharmed and managed to drive the hyena away too.

Carly M
Senior Digital Ranger

Fantastic video this week, thanks guys!

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you, Carly. It was such an amazing week.

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

Fantastic!!!!!

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