Over the past few months the daughter of the Kikilezi female has started to flourish. Showing exceptional skill as a hunter and having already mated with the Airstrip male, this three-year-old beauty is starting to make her mark. Only recently has she started to scent mark, a clear indication that she is in the early stages of establishing a territory. This she is doing in the southern parts of her mother’s territory, and her mother is doing her best hold onto her turf.
This week we found the Kikilezi female hunting impala around the Matshipiri River. She was not far off, yet she was going to lay low until the cover of night before making her move. Unbelievably, her daughter was resting on a termite mound nearby showing intent on the exact same herd of impala!
As the sun set the leopards edged closer toward the antelope. The leopards were at either end of the impala herd and were not aware of each others’ presence. What followed was a dramatic sequence that no one could have predicted! The daughter of the Kikilezi female decided the time was right, and made a dash toward some young impala lambs – and missed. This sent the herd scattering, and the Kikilezi female was perfectly placed to nab an impala lamb. The experienced female wasted no time in hoisting the kill into a tree. As soon as she had done so, her daughter arrived at the base of the tree! The mother was infuriated by this intruder, and hastily descended from the tree and actively chased her daughter off. In the commotion, the kill fell from the branches and was now lying in a heap on the ground. We lost sight of the leopards as they sped off, and decided to wait at the carcass. We are not sure of how the chase went, but the daughter was the first to arrive back at the impala kill. The Kikilezi female came soon after. She watched her daughter approaching her meal. Only once the young leopard tried to start feeding did the Kikilezi female make another dash toward her, chasing her off once more. This was enough to deter her daughter, and she was able to enjoy her meal in peace.
This is not the first time that these two leopards have interacted, nor will it be the last. We hope the daughter of the Kikilezi female is able to establish herself in some free ground that her mother will be happy to relinquish, and both leopards can be happy.