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Sean Zeederberg

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As a young boy growing up on an agricultural farm in Zimbabwe, Sean spent every opportunity entertaining himself outdoors, camping in the local nature reserve and learning about all facets of the natural world. After completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental ...

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on On the Trail of Plaque Rock Female’s Fourth Litter

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Master Tracker

You should have issued a cuteness warning with this blog

Sightings of a lifetime for some lucky guests

This really was a sighting of a lifetime. To spend that long with a mother and her three adorable cubs was incredible.

I would think Plaque Rock needs all the help she can get, given that her previous 3 litters all died young. When I saw her last month she’d just killed a kudu calf. Didn’t Mashaba lose several litters of 3? – I saw her in Oct ’17 with 3 young ones, maybe 3 months old. 2 weeks later they’d all been killed by lions. It’s not easy being a leopard mum!

Hi Suzanne! I spent hours reading up on most of the leopards on this site a few weeks ago, and what I did notice, is that unfortunately, there is an abysmal rate of cub survival for most of the females. It was shocking to me. I was thinking that at the rate this is going, I’m surprised if there is not a marked decrease in leopards soon. It was not unusual to notice multiple females losing 99% of their offspring throughout their lifetimes! And some of these would live for 10+ years! Truly devastating. So, any cubs that can make in Londolozi is a lucky cub indeed.

It really isn’t easy being a leopard mum. I hope that she is able to raise at least one of these three cubs to independence.

So she’s moved the cubs from the den highlighted in your Christmas video? Is it likely she moved due to predator activity nearby? Or perhaps there were just too many animals of all kinds coming down to the river? That one curious cub could be a troublesome magnet…

Yes, she moved the cubs again. I am not too sure the reason for her moving but could be all of what you have mentioned. Possibly that the den is somewhat exposed in that it is a stand alone cluster of boulders on the edge of the river and the boulders where they spend a fair amount of time is out in the open, which could attract unwanted attention from other predators.

Let’s hope she moved them for reasons other than an unfortunate incident occurring at den #2.🤞

I really hope so. They still haven’t been seen yet but the mother, the Plaque Rock Female, has been seen with suckle marks.

Such a stunning leopardess with her three cubs. Let’s hope she stays in the second den for it is very secure for the cubs. That little one peeking at the bottom foto is to gorgeous. Well Mashaba being the grandmother makes it even more special for all three cubs to live to adulthood and hoping we can see them grow up like we saw the magnificent Ntomi male grow up.

Hopefully, these cubs manage to survive.

Sean, thank you for this update. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future.

It will be interesting to see what unfolds. As soon as we have more info or manage to see them again I will be sure to let you all know.

So Plaque Rock female moved her cubs to a third den? Could it be she’s more nervous with three to care for, even though she’s habituated to being viewed by more than one vehicle? Maybe it’s just simple and she found a better den, or lastly, she’s a leopard who is just portraying her elusive nature.

Yes, they have been moved to a third den. I am not too sure why, but I am hoping that she knows what she is doing and that it is for the better.

The PlaqueRock Female seems very wise as she changes her den frequently. Hyenas usually follows leopards, males look for cubs sired by other males, there are phytons and even small predators like mongoose that can kill such small balls of fluff. I think she knows what to do. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and take this trio as a best wish for the new year!

We will keep our fingers crossed that these cubs survive.

the suspense! I sure hope they are doing well!

I hope they are doing well.

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