Over the past couple of months, the Ximungwe Duo has made up a significant portion of the leopard viewing at Londolozi. This Ximungwe Young Male was born in March of 2021 and after initially being a scarce and skittish young leopard he has grown drastically in confidence. Being just over a year old, he is still very much dependent on his mother the Ximungwe Female but over the next couple of months, we will begin to see her distance herself from him more and more as she begins to seek out the dominant males in order to mate and essentially sire her next litter.
A single cub of the Ximungwe Female's second litter. Initially rather skittish but is very relaxed now. Birth mark in his left eye.
As mentioned above, The Ximungwe Young Male is still dependent on his mother and will still be for some time. Young male leopards are usually dependent on their mothers for around two years. This allows them to grow and develop the skills necessary in order to fend for themselves and, in turn, avoid the dominant males in the area until they are big enough and strong enough to challenge for a territory themselves.
Although the Ximungwe Female knows she still has the duty of raising her cub to independence we have noticed that she is leaving him for longer periods of time. With the Young Male now being aware of the dangers of the bush and other predators, in particular, the Ximungwe Female has full confidence in him to handle himself if ever in a sticky situation, giving her more time to hunt and do territorial patrols.
Having been viewed by vehicles from an early age, this leopard is supremely relaxed around Land Rovers.
During this phase of his life, young leopards such as this become extremely curious and adventurous, where they stalk and hunt anything, climb trees for no reason, and many other entertaining things which often leads them to venture further and further each time they are left alone. These prolonged periods of alone time have sparked an interest in the Ximungwe Young Male who believes he can hunt anything no matter the size, from dwarf mongooses to large rhino bulls. I have seen him on a few occasions, dropping down into full stalk mode and creeping up on a fully grown adult rhino. Of course, he has no chance in his wildest dreams of bringing this choice of prey down but it is all designed for him to practice his valuable hunting skills.
These are all vital lessons to be learned and the most learning for him will come through trial and error. His mother is still necessary for providing him with most of his meals as he is not yet proficient in hunting but in the same breath, she knows it is her responsibility for him to be well equipped with all the right lessons before he becomes independent.
Leopards are solitary animals by nature and eventually, The Ximungwe Young Male will be forced to leave his mother. The day will come when she goes off for a hunt and doesn’t come back. The Ximungwe Female will only do this when she feels the time is right and when there is an urge to mate again. Once left the Ximungwe Young Male enters a very risky and trying period of his life as independence sets in. For the initial period after becoming independent his father, presumed to be the Senegal Bush Male, will tolerate his presence but eventually, he will push him out and the Young Male begins the nomadic period of his life.
In an attempt to slip under the radar of the dominant male leopards the Ximungwe Young Male will constantly move around, just getting by hunting what he can and moving on as soon as it is finished. Not sticking around in any one area for too long. This period will last until he feels he is big enough and strong enough to challenge for a territory of his own, which is usually anywhere from the age of about four to six years old.
The dominant males don’t stand for younger males coming into their territory and the consequences could be fatal. Should he manage to secure a territory he will then attempt to mate with any female he comes across and in turn sire his own cubs to keep the Sunsetbend Lineage and the Ximungwe Line going strong for many years to come. Because of the pressure from his father, he will most likely disperse elsewhere and the likelihood of us viewing him are probably slim.
Sunset Bend Female was born in August 1992 and provided some unbelievable Leopard viewing at Londolozi until her death in 2010.
The day will come when we no longer see this young male but for now, we are enjoying his youthfulness around Londolozi.