Involved Leopards

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

Nkoveni 2:2 Female

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Xinkhova 2:2 Female

Xinkhova 2:2 Female

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Nkoveni 3:2 Young Female B

Nkoveni 3:2 Young Female B

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About the Author

Kyle Gordon

Contributor

Kyle was born and raised in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. His childhood was spent scurrying barefooted along the banks of various rivers and dams, fishing rod ever-in-hand, enjoying the beauty and freedom of outdoors. Kyle obtained a degree in construction from UCT ...

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12 Comments

on How to Tell the Nkoveni Female’s Cubs Apart

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Chelsea Allard
Master Tracker

It hadn’t occurred to me they could have two different fathers, but it makes perfect sense. I guess they only way to know would be a blood test. Does Panthera ever take blood samples for their research?

Irene Henkes
Digital Tracker

Interesting Kyle! I am not into these hereditary things. Do you mean the spots of a leopard (or coatcolour) could be what is received from the father? Or just the spots that one can identify a leopard with?

Francesca Doria
Master Tracker

Monitoring animals by knowing their characteristics and not by collars with transmitters is great. This trio is the highest example of beauty, grace and fun in the animal kingdom. I love leopards, they exhibit also a very various and complex, interesting behaviour. This mum has been just too smart and had luck in keeping her two precious cubs alive, I wish them a bright future! Thank you for telling on them

Suzanne Gibson
Guest contributor

Thanks Kyle – I’ve just been looking at my photos from February, when we were lucky enough on our last drive to see both cubs playing together. I can now tell which is which! Now they’re 15 months old, it surely can’t be long before Nkoveni leaves them? – then I guess the playing stops and the hunting starts.

Christa Blessing
Master Tracker

Thanks, Kyle, for the interesting article on identifying leopards.
The photos of the two cubs and their mother are just stunning.

Valmai Vorster
Master Tracker

Kyle the two cubs of the Nkoveni leopard are beautiful and it is a clever move from her to have to males matting her so that the lives of the cubs are more secure. Because male leopards usually kill the cubs because they do not carry his genes. The difference in the dots above the wiskers is a unique pattern to identify the leopards. I absolutely love leopards, for me, there is no other animal that is so majestic, agile and just so gorgeous. Especially those tiny little cubs with those blue eyes and furry bodies.

William Paynter
Master Tracker

Kyle, thanks for the lesson in leopard identification . It helps when I look at the pictures that are posted.

Barbi Evenson
Senior Digital Ranger

What a great story! Lots of plots and twists.
Almost like a “who done it!!” Still leave you wondering 🙃

Bob and Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

Cats…Cats…Cats we never get tired of watching them, and the antics of Leopard cubs chasing, pouncing, tackling each other and their mom never gets tiring! It took us several trips to Africa (mostly Kenya & Tanzania) before we ever saw our first Leopard. But in having found Londolozi we have truly “hit the mother load” as my wife is prone to proclaim. Thanks for sharing the basis of the naming protocol which for a long while was a mystery but your explanation and pictures explain it quite well.

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Kyle, I love this interesting article. You’ve given us so much information about the identifying marks on a leopard in addition to how it is possible for twins to have different fathers. Now I don’t want to make something that’s most likely simple more complicated, but I definitely think it’s possible the Nkoveni cubs have different fathers due to the great differences in size and coloration. Either way they’re beautiful cubs and hopefully they will grow to independence like their siblings. By the way, I really appreciated the images highlighted with the red circles to define the identifying marks.

Cindy Reich
Explorer

Great blog post! I took a photo of a female leopard in the Klaserie area in 2019 years ago. She had the most distinctive “swirl” of the markings on the left side of her forehead. Do you ever see any variations in the spotting in that area?

Darlene Knott
Master Tracker

Wow, a fantastic article on leopards! My favorite animal is not only strong and beautiful, but fascinating to study! Thanks so much for the information!

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