May 2022

Changing Dynamics

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Changing Dynamics

Although nothing is forever as the saying goes, the dynamics surrounding the leopards of Singita Sabi Sand are particularly unstable at the moment and are going through some very drastic changes! It has a lot to do with the rapidly ageing Nyelethi male. Born in 2009, this impressive male has the reign over an incredibly large stretch of land, along the sought-after Sand River, however it feels like his time is coming to an end.

Although he rose to prominence as a rogue young male when he notoriously killed the Ravenscourt female in 2013, he has been the dominant male ever since. He is especially known in the area around the lodge where he has become famous for strolling through the lodges.

The rapid ageing of the Nyelethi male and, with that, the steep decline of his territory, will have a great effect on two leopards in particular: The Thamba male and Schotia female.

The Thamba male is gaining territory quickly, as he is a strong upcoming young male, seen as the main competitor and biggest threat to Nyelethi.

The Schotia female’s territory, on the other hand, has always overlapped with the territory of the Nyelethi male.

Her last set of cubs were also fathered by him. With Thamba moving in closer, he is believed to have killed Schotia’s last litter. She was then seen mating again with Nyelethi again. Of course with Thamba’s territory only growing, we are concerned the story will repeat itself soon.

It will be very interesting to see how these dynamics play out going forward. Stay tuned for more updates as the quest for dominance plays out.

Nick du Plessis
By Nick du Plessis
Field Guide