We have reached yet another new chapter within the lives of one of the leopards of Londolozi. The Ranging and Tracking team are happy to officially announce that the Ximungwe Young Male will no longer be referred to as that, and will now be known as the Ntomi Male Leopard. A couple months ago I posted a blog on “How does a Leopard get its Name?“. In short, a leopard will only be renamed when we feel that it is clearly independent of its mother and capable of hunting and fending for itself. It is then given a name, for reference sake, which relates to a characteristic, feature, or prominent place within its territory (when it becomes territorial).
A single cub of the Ximungwe Female's second litter. Initially rather skittish but is very relaxed now. Birth mark in his left eye.
Right from an early age, we noticed a distinctive spot within the iris of his left eye. This has helped us all the way through in being able to identify him very quickly and easily.
In the local Shangaan language, “ntomi” is a freckle. Since this birthmark is so distinguishable and rather unique, we decided that its resemblance to a freckle within his eye warranted it to play a role in the naming process.
I’m sure as most of you know, the odds of leopard cubs surviving aren’t high. The Ximungwe Female seems to be having a stroke of good fortune compared to most mother leopards. The Ntomi Male, born into her second litter, will be the second cub she’s raised to independence. The first is the Mahlahla Male from her first litter, who we very seldom see. As far as we are aware, he is still alive and occupies the northeastern corner of Marthly.
An inquisitive young male that has been pushed further north by the Senegal Bush Male.
The Ntomi Male is seen fairly regularly within central Londolozi between the Tugwaan and Maxabene riverbeds. In the coming months, I suspect that we will begin to see him less and less. He will soon be on the receiving end of some pressure from the territorial males within the area, including the Senegal Bush Male. Although the Senegal Bush Male assumes paternity over him, there will come a time when even he will become intolerant of his son.
It is interesting to note that the Ntomi Male has never left the borders of the Londolozi. The Ximungwe Female’s territory, where the Ntomi Male has spent most of his life thus far, lies within central Londolozi, to the south of our camps. For almost the past two years, the Ximungwe Duo has provided us with many incredible sightings. Although I am sad to say that we are reaching the end of this era, I am excited about what lies ahead for both him and his mother.
The Ximungwe Female has been seen mating with the Senegal Bush Male just over a month ago, so for all, we know she could even be pregnant with her next litter. Only time will tell.
For now, we are cherishing every sighting we have of the Ntomi Male, because if records are anything to go by, we know that young males like him will soon venture off into the unchartered wilderness. Where they will end up far away from where they grew up.
Filed under Conservation Leopards Wildlife
It won’t be easy but I hope the beautiful boy will manage to establish a territory for himself in the coming years.
Part of growing up in Leopard world I guess..Hopefully he still be frequently seen!
What a bittersweet time – he’s grown into a strong, beautiful leopard. We can hope for a long and healthy life for him. I will remain hopeful that there is a small chance I may see him when I come next July, but from your story, I suspect he will have moved on to a new territory. One never knows though!
Btw, the spot in his eye is a nevi (as you have rightly called it, an eye freckle!). They are no different than a mole on the skin, and are made up of a collection of melanocytes – the cells that give skin pigment and colour. They are usually harmless, in humans there is a rare risk of becoming a melanoma, but it depends where in the eye they are situated. I don’t think there is any risk for this beautiful boy, and it’s nice to have such a distinct way to recognize him!
Looking forward to finding out if his mother’s mating was successful.
What a beautiful leopard
What a beautiful leopard! Thank you for introducing us to him.
What a pity that this beautiful leopard will most likely have to leave Londolozi. I hope that he will have a good future and can establish himself in another territory, or maybe will stay close to Londolozi..
He is one of the most stunning leopard I’ve ever seen, his life has been an exciting adventure to follow, hopefully he will be able to fend for himself well. His mother being so successful both times maybe she will also be the next one
I’ll be sad to see him go. Wd spent a memorable hour with him and his mom earlier this year as they stalked, pounced and wrestled with each other! An incredible sighting!
Love this young male and the name chosen! The Mahlahla Male is now territorial in the Manyeleti, around Khoka Moya and Honeyguide Tented Camp area (they refer to him as Ximungwe). He’s been seen mating as well. Hopefully the Ntomi Male will establish himself somewhere that his progress can be followed as well!
My favorite leopard. Perfect name for this handsome fellow! Hope he thrives and does well.
Thanks for that, Matt – I was wondering how his new name was derived. I’ve had some fantastic viewings of him over my last 2 visits, and hopefully he’ll still be around when I’m back again in 2 weeks!
I’m so glad he has come to independence successfully! I like the name and now will also be able to reference him easily in photos too😊
Also great photos of him through the years.
I sure hope he stays around…he is such a beauty!
This young male was part of our August/September stay at least 3 times, once with his mom AND grandma in a triad around our right, left, front sides of the Rover. And the name Ntomi is perfect.
Matt it is quiet heart breaking to think we will not see him so often anymore. He was such a stunning cub with the spot in his eye which made him even more special. I hope he can establish a territory of his own and not step on the big males territory. Such a big boy and his new name Ntomi suits him. Hope Mom is pregnant so that we can view a new baby leopard cub soon.
Matt, thank you for sharing the new name. Ntomi is a very appropriate name. Hoping for his successful life in the bush of Londolozi.
Having seen him from his early months, I hope he remains on the premises so that we can follow his adventures.
Fantastic story Matt, highlighting the now independent Ximungwe young male, Ntomi. His name is fitting, given the freckle-like birthmark in his eye. I am sorry that I will most likely never meet this handsome leopard, but I hope he moves on to establish his own territory, perhaps continuing the successful legacy of the Londolozi leopards…. We never know what might happen in the wild!
The spot in his eye could be Feline Iris Melanosis which can be cancerous but this is most likely benign and is often genetic or Feline Corneal Sequestra, which is actually a dying off of the tissue in that area and can be caused by trauma and other factors which don’t fit his situation. Fingers crossed it doesn’t get bigger. I would hope he could stick around because I think we have fallen in love with him!
Looking forward to reading more about him, but I suspect he will migrate
Matt, Thanks for the update! We love the name you have given to him – it suits him perfectly! It will be interesting to see where he ends up! Do you notify all your neighboring camps of his features and name?
What a perfect name for him. I will miss seeing his sweet face. I hope that someday he is lucky enough to hold an impressive territory and sire cubs of his own. Glad to hear her first cub is still presumed alive and well. Was he the one who stuck around for quite a long time after independence?
That spot in his eye is indeed a freckle. Proper name is an ocular nevi. It’s not that uncommon and humans can have them. It’s a collection of pigment cells.
Such a beautiful creature- I hope he continues to flourish and we get to see him in the future
Super cool to follow this young male to maturity, and to learn about the process for naming him!!