We are absolutely spoilt with how much quality time we get to spend in sightings and as a result often get to know some of these animals on an individual basis, often noticing clear personalities and quirky traits.
Without doubt one of the biggest 'characters' in the Sabi Sand is the Kangela male leopard. His name literally translates to “looking with curious eyes” and, speaking from experience, at times looking a little too curiously towards us, not in a dangerous but rather an inquisitive manner. I have been fortunate enough to have had countless quality sightings of this male and can even boast being the first person ever to see him while on drive! But why I am writing this article is because, unfortunately, his days with us are numbered.
Being a young male leopard of his age (almost exactly two at the time of writing this) means he only has a few more months with us before he will be seen as competition, and be forcibly pushed away from his mother’s territory. This is mostly done to ensure no inbreeding can take place to ensure genetic variation. Once he moves off, he generally keeps on moving until he finds an area that he can hopefully ,in the future, call his own.
Another reason for him to move off is because his mom, the Schotia female, is most probably pregnant again. This is so exciting, and if we can be half as lucky with her new cub(s) as we were with Kangela, we are in for a treat! But instead of being sad to see him go, we should appreciate that we had him here in the first place.
Seeing this young male grow in leaps and bounds has been such a privilege and I am definitely planning to make the most of every sighting we have left with this playful and charming character. With so many sightings to choose from, here are just a few of my favourite sightings I have had with the Kangela male.