The Three Rivers Young Male has been seen a number of times recently and it is about time we gave an update on him. He is doing very well and although it is still early to say with confidence, I am sure he is bound to shape into an imitable force amongst the male leopards in this area (if he sticks around).
One of two cubs to survive, the sister lost at five months. Still dependent on his mother, but is growing into an impressive young male.
Born in July 2021, he is just over two years old now but what was interesting was that his mother pushed him into what we thought was a relatively early independence. In January, the Three Rivers Female was seen mating with the Maxim’s Male while the Three Rivers Young Male was only 17 months old. Now, we would imagine that she would only be planning on having another litter of cubs once she is confident that her previous litter are capable of looking after themselves.
At 17 months, the Three Rivers Young Male was not likely to survive alone, but thankfully over the next three and a half months, the mother’s gestation period, he managed to become resourceful enough to get by. In May, the Three Rivers Female gave birth to her second litter in Mala Mala. For sure now, the young male was on his own. Initially very skittish of the vehicles since leaving his mother, but over the last little while we have had some incredible sightings of the Three Rivers Young Male as he begins to get used to the vehicles on his own.
A recent sighting reminded me that the process of habituation takes time and patience, and a whole lot of reverence for these incredible cats, as I wrote about in a previous blog.
Recently, it has been great to witness how this nomadic young male leopard begins to catch more substantial meals which will sustain him for longer, as highlighted in the image below where ranger Kirst Joscelyne got to witness the Three Rivers Young Male trying to hoist a zebra foal, more on this to come.
In addition to honing his hunting skills, a recent sighting of the Maxims Male AND the Three Rivers Young Male mating with the Ximungwe Female was something to behold, as Robbie Ball describes in his latest blog. This just speaks to his growth and development as he establishes himself with this newfound independence.
Having been viewed by vehicles from an early age, this leopard is supremely relaxed around Land Rovers.
And while we will continue to eagerly search for this leopard and try bare witness to what life has in store for him in the coming months, it is also good to know that his mother, the Three Rivers Female, has been mating again, as well as actively defending and reinstating her territorial boundaries (with severe aggression) as Sean Zeederberg captured in his virtual safari on the epic battle between the Three Rivers Female and Nkoveni Female!
Forced into early independence as her mother was killed by the Southern Avoca Males.
A gorgeous female who is found to the east of camp. Easily recognised by her 2:2 spot pattern she is often to be found in Marula trees.
Although his time at Londolozi may be finite, as it is a little too soon to establish where he might set up his own territory, it is exciting to see how this leopard has survived and the Three Rivers Female has raised her first cub to independence.