The Kikilezi female (Leopards of MalaMala)

The Kikilezi female - an unbelievable hunter and mother

The Kikilezi female - an unbelievable hunter and mother

Date of Birth: October 2001

Mother: Ngoboswan female

Father: Newington male. This was interesting at the time, since this young male was by no means the dominant force in that area. It is almost certain that the courting was successful as shortly after they mated, the Ngoboswan female was quick to step up her efforts to get her two old daughters – the Campbell Koppies female and her sister – out of her territory.

Litters:

2006 – 2 Cubs – Son of Kikilezi female
2008 – 2 Cubs – Son of Kikilezi female
2009 – 3 Cubs – Daughter of Kikilezi female
2012 – 2 Cubs – Currently one dependant male cub

Family Tree featuring the Kikilezi Female

Family Tree featuring the Kikilezi Female

The Kikilezi Female, born in October 2001

The Kikilezi Female, born in October 2001

The Kikilezi female is easily recognized by her pale face around her whiskers

The Kikilezi female is easily recognized by her pale face around her whiskers

Kikilezi Female

Identity features of the Kikilezi Female

General

Known in other areas as ‘Xidulu’, the Kikilezi female was born in a litter which included a brother who moved off MalaMala, and a sister that was killed by a crocodile. The Kikilezi female is currently one of the most viewed leopards on MalaMala. This is largely thanks to her territory being close to the Main Camp, and the road network in her territory is well traversed every day. She is well loved thanks to her skills as a caring mother and a proficient hunter, both of which were trademarks of her mother, the Ngoboswan female.

Her first litter in January 2006 produced a son and a daughter that was killed by hyenas. This male was never relaxed around the vehicles, and sightings of him were usually brief encounters. We are unsure of his status. Her next litter, born in January 2008, had a similar outcome, with a male surviving to independence after his sister was killed mid-2008. These first two litters were fathered by the Manyelethi male. The male born in 2008 is now territorial north of the Sand River in western Sabi Sands, where he is known ‘Mashiabanj’, and by all accounts we believe he is doing well. In 2009 the Kikilezi female had yet another litter. A tremendous feat, considering her relatively young age. In this litter there were three cubs, but only one managed to survive to independence – the Daughter of the Kikilezi female. This young female, possibly fathered by the Emsagwen male, is still in the process of establishing a territory. In April 2012, the Kikilezi female revealed her fourth litter to us! The den site that she chose in the Mlowathi River, just opposite the Main Camp, an is a den that she has often made use of for previous litters. The litter produced two cubs, but only one male cub is still alive. This young cub is very significant, since he is the first cub to be sired by the dominant Airstrip male.

2006 Son of the Kikilezi female

2006 Son of the Kikilezi female

2008 Son of the kikilezi female, now known as 'Mashiabanj', is territorial in western Sabi Sands

2008 Son of the Kikilezi female, now known as 'Mashiabanj', is territorial in western Sabi Sands

2009 Daughter of Kikilezi female

2009 Daughter of the Kikilezi female

Cub of the Kikilezi female, born in April 2012

Cub of the Kikilezi female, born in April 2012

One of the first sightings of her cub born in April 2012. Can you spot it?

One of the first sightings of her cub born in April 2012. Can you spot it?

It is an incredible achievement that the Kikilezi female has raised one cub from each of her litters thus far to independence. We hope she is able to repeat the same good fortune with her current dependent male cub.

The Kikilezi female's territory

The Kikilezi female's territory

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