Involved Leopards

Nhlanguleni 3:2 Female

Nhlanguleni 3:2 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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48 Comments

on The Frustrations and Pure Joy of Finding a Leopard Den

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Karen Hart
Senior Digital Ranger

How marvelous to see her carrying her new little cub. Well done! And thank you for allowing all of us to come along on this exciting find.

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you so much, Karen. I am so glad that I could bring you all along on this amazing journey.

Darlene Knott
Master Tracker

WOW, WOW, WOW! I was thrilled to see this video! I CANNOT imagine your excitement at seeing this in person! We have been on safari trips 22 times and only ONE tine were we blessed with seeing a lioness carry her cub while the other cub trotted alongside. NEVER have I seen my favorite animal, the leopard, do this. This brought rears of joy to my eyes. Thank you, Sean Zeederberg and all involved!

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you so much, Darlene. It was the most amazing experience and we were just so lucky to be there to witness her carrying the cub.

William Paynter
Master Tracker

Fantastic sighting, thank you Sean! Watching the mother leopard moving her cubs is truly amazing.

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you so much, William. It was such an incredible thing to witness.

Barbi Evenson
Senior Digital Ranger

There is nothing more rewarding patients!
What great photos… Thank you for sharing…
Nothing as beautiful as a baby leopard💖
Wishing the new family all the strength they
need to survive

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

There is nothing as beautiful as a tiny leopard cub. We hope that they survive.

Marc Grawunder
Senior Digital Ranger

Awesome! Always amazing to see how they carry these little bundles.

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

It is so interesting to see how the mother carries the young leopards, and how the cubs go limp and allow the mother to move them around.

Linda Bangs
Explorer

Great sighting, Sean! fingers crossed for the lineage to carry on with these babies!

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you so much, Linda. We are also crossing our fingers that these little cubs survive.

Bob and Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

Just wonderful Sean !!!!!!! And congrats to Jess for finding them!!! LOVED the third video!

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you so much, Bob and Lucie. I was elated that Jess managed to find them.

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Oh Sean, what absolutely beautiful story you gave us today. Patience truly does reward those who practice it and you deserved the prize sighting at the end of Nhlanguleni carrying her second cub to the new den. The slow motion video really highlighted the determination and strength of this mother and I marveled at her ability to carry this little fur ball over that distance with no rest stops – only stopping to re-position her little one.
Seeing new life is always special but more so for these solitary females who only have themselves to care and feed these cubs. Going off to hunt in order to sustain herself and the cubs leaves them vulnerable. At least lions have pride mates who help out, save for the Tsalala female.
Waking up early this morning and seeing your blog has made my day – thank you!

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you so much, Denise. It was incredible to see her carry the little one all the way, it was no short distance. I am so glad that this blog has brought you so much joy.

Irene Henkes
Digital Tracker

Wow! Amazing how these little ones curl up when being carried. Even the little tail has a curl…….

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

It is amazing to see how they curl up and go limp allowing their mother to carry them.

Valmai Vorster
Master Tracker

Sean I am so excited and so pleased to see that you found the Nhlanguleni females den and what a present surprise to see 2 gorgeous cubs. So so precious and the video’s were building up to the last one where she moves the cubs. There is just something that no one can explain about a mother leopard caring her new cub to another den. Fantastic and astounding footage, thank you so much.

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you so much, Valmai. It really was so amazing.

Anita Santoro
Explorer

OMGosh OMGosh! How incredible! Thank you for your patience! BTW – the first photo of mom and cub that you took is a wonderful mother’s day gift…you should make it available for purchase! Love it!

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you so much, Anita. It is a great image. We will certainly make some of them purchasable.

Jos Smulders
Explorer

Absolutely amazing!! As always. I watched the video with the utmost enjoyment. I feel like, it’s my second home, after viewing all your amazing updates, these last few years. Thank again!!!

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you so much, Jos. I am so glad that we get to share these updates with you as and when we have them.

Francesca Doria
Master Tracker

Sean, this is the most memorable gift today. Such a touching, sweet, wonderful video of this masterwork of nature carrying her baby and the other miniature peeking… memorable!

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you so much, Francesca. It was the most memorable sighting one could ever have.

Christa Blessing
Master Tracker

Finding and watching cubs – lion, leopard and others – is indeed wonderful. The mothers are just so lovely in their care for the little ones.

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Seeing any cubs is always amazing. I agree, that the mothers love and care for her young is something to admire.

Michael Fleetwood
Digital Tracker

Awesome job Sean, hopefully she’ll be more accessible and have some luck with this litter! Could you possibly do a quick run-down of her individual litters if possible? I have some up to a certain point but am struggling to locate others as well

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Hi Michael, thank you so much. Yes sure, although I am sure there is probably some flaws in our records as it has been so tricky to keep a track of her and her litters.

2015 October- 3 cubs one lost early on the other two made it to about 6 months then also lost.
2017 April- only one cub was viewed for a brief period.
2018 March- Nkuwa and Finfoot Females
2019 December- 2 cubs viewed to the west of the Londolozi camps for a few months then lost.
2020 January- 2 cubs viewed around Mhangeni Double Crossing also lost after a few months.
2020 August- 1 cub was only found when about three months old and presumed to have been born in August.
2022 March- 2 cubs are currently being raised.

Al Kaiser
Guest contributor

Absolutely insane sighting Sean. It triggered a wonderful memory. The first visit that Nick Kleer guided for me we spent every day for an entire week driving by the site of the first den looking for Nhlanguleni cubs! Never did see them…..

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thanks so much, Al. It honestly was such an incredible sighting. I guess sometimes that is the way it goes, we were lucky to be there at the right time, thanks to Jess calling me.

Al Kaiser
Guest contributor

Luckily, we were rewarded later that year when Nanga took us to see newborn Makomsava. Hope you are well.

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

That must have been amazing. Keeping very well thank you, I hope you are too.

Cally Staniland
Master Tracker

All your hard work paid off Sean…oh my …..how incredibly exciting to find the den and to have a view of mother carrying the second cub back to the new den!! All the footage and photos are amazing 💕 Especially the last one of the wee cub looking at the camera so intently. Out of this world. A big thank you for sharing this magical moment 🙏🏻

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

It was so exciting to find the new den and over and above all to see her carrying the cub was so special. I am just so glad that we are able to share these moments with everyone.

Suzanne Gibson
Guest contributor

That’s incredible Sean, thank you so much – I’ve been looking forward to seeing the last video since the pics appeared in TWIP. As you said, hard work and patience were needed = and luck – but this also shows the value of great team-work and a massive amount of knowledge and experience.

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you so much, Suzanne. It was such an amazing experience and it would not have been possible without all of those that you mention, patience, luck and most of all teamwork. If Jess had not found the mother then the search would have continued for a while longer.

Vin Beni
Guest contributor

In addition to the wonderful images/videos, your storytelling was fantastic. We could sense the anticipation, frustration, and exhiliration as you carried out your patient pursuit.
Again, the slo-mo provides an opportunity to admire the strength and grace of the animal.

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you so much, Vin. It was such a frustrating search but at least in the end we found the den and were rewarded hugely.

Chelsea Allard
Digital Tracker

Thank you for documenting this whole experience so we could follow along. I loved how you described pandemonium breaking out in the office when Jess radioed in that she found them. There couldn’t be a better interruption during a work day.

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you, Chelsea. It was sheer chaos, but luckily we got there in time and were rewarded with an amazing sighting.

Barbara Wallace
Senior Digital Ranger

What an incredible sighting Sean! The team’s hard work certainly paid off. Thank you for this marvellous video. I will replay it often.

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you so much, Barbara. It was indeed a phenomenal sighting.

Lisa Antell
Master Tracker

Sean, these videos are so wonderful! The success after such long pain-staking searches make it that much sweeter! The pic of that tiny tiny face and blue eyes peeping out is my favorite! And now, Nhlanguleni is also a grandmother too, to Nkuwa’s new little ones. Bliss!

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

It certainly was worth the hard work. Yes, she is indeed a grandmother too, which is so exciting.

Patrick Smyth
Explorer

Absolutely magnificent. Love every minute of it. Thank you for the privilege.

Sean Zeederberg
Blog Editor

Thank you so much, Patrick. I am glad you enjoyed it.

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