As mentioned in previous journals, we have been waiting with baited breath and hope for two of our young leopardesses to reveal their cubs. Clear sightings of the mothers lactating have had everyone very excited to try and locate the new arrivals. That amazing day happened on the 14th of March, when the Stickythorn female was seen with two very small additions! Great sightings were enjoyed on safari, for the morning and the afternoon of the 14th. However, she was located again the next morning with only one cub. There were many lion tracks in and out of the area and she possibly lost one to the lions. It’s believed that her den site is outside of our concession, and we have not seen her since, but the cubs are active and resilient and are probably just fine given the stature of their mother. Another magical day occurred when, not even a week later, the Mhlangulene female emerged from the long grass, boasting one cub. The mother was incredibly relaxed and even moved up to the vehicle, calling the cub behind her. However, the great big Land Rover was a bit too much for the youngster who had a brief look and then made a hasty retreat into the undergrowth.
She was located a few days later with yet another tiny cub, making it 4 new rosette arrivals to the Singita Kruger National Park family in under a week! Naturally, viewing of the cubs is conducted very ethically and sensitively, but the guides have already noticed the cubs relaxing slightly (helped by the tolerant nature of their mothers). This makes the upcoming months extremely exciting for leopard viewing, should the cubs be successful. We wish these leopardesses great success in bringing up their first litters!
We have been seeing a few young male leopards investigating the area, and are excited by the fact that there was another female leopard with a male and female cub not far from Lebombo and Sweni lodges. The near independent male cub has been exploring and hunting a little, while the female cub enjoys the potential to take a small portion of her mother’s territory. Leopards are reputably good mothers and allow the cubs to remain with them for up to two years, but will also often relinquish a bit of their territory to their young female cubs.