Shortly after leaving camp, with the intention of trying to see the Nkuwa Female and her two male cubs, we heard from Jess that she had found the Skorro Breakaway Male. We joined her there and within a matter of minutes, he was up and chasing after a hyena that had a carcass and Melvin and Robyn were following through the clearings nearby. Now happy with his spoils the Skorro Breakaway Male settled in the shade and finished what was left.
Before we knew it we were scampering down to the Sand River after Reece gave us an update that the Nkuwa Female and her cubs were walking south from where their carcass was, quite likely to have a drink from the river. I certainly wasn’t going to miss that opportunity and arrived at a stunning view of two of the leopards. We followed them back to the carcass where one youngster satisfied his hunger while his mother rested in the grass not too far away. Still unsure of where the second cub was we made the call to leave the leopards for the evening as the carcass was still on the ground and our presence there could likely attract hyenas who would in turn quickly snap up the free meal.
The following morning on our way to see what had transpired over the course of the evening, we bumped into some elephants casually feeding right outside camp before we crossed through the Sand River at Finfoot Crossing. With no leopards to be seen anywhere around the site of the carcass from the night before we channel our inner Sherlock Holmes to reveal what went down. Finding tracks at the base of the tree was the first clue, then claw marks and bark chipped off the trunk, then nyala fur and blood going up the side of the tree all indicate that they did indeed hoist the carcass. However, in case the stresses of motherhood weren’t difficult enough for the Nkuwa Female, having two high-spirited young males to look after takes it to another level. Young leopards aren’t yet equipped with a perfect set of skills when it comes to moving, repositioning and feeding on carcasses in a tree. This often leads to them knocking the carcass out of the tree and losing it to pesky hyenas waiting below.
This is quite likely what happened and all the animals had then moved on back down to the river. While in search of any of them down there, we come across a ranger and tracker in dire need of some assistance. We swoop in and save the day.
Enjoy this Virtual Safari…
One of two sisters born to the Nhlanguleni Female, both of whom made it to independence, the first intact litter to do so in 7 years.
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