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.