This week two female leopards have earned themselves a name, and a place among the rich heritage of the leopards of MalaMala. Both females have been around for some time, and have been providing consistent viewing on the property.
The Emsagweni Female
The daughter of the Kikilezi female was born in December 2009, in a litter of three. Her father is believed to be the Emsagwen male, who was a powerful male that mysteriously vanished in 2011. The Emsagweni Female’s new name is adopted from a road that runs through a core area where she is establishing her territory, and it is fitting that the name has a connotation to her (presumed) father. The Bicycle Crossing male was also mating with the Kikilezi female in the months prior to her giving birth, and it is for that reason that the father of the Emsagweni female will remain unconfirmed.
This female became independent from her mother around March 2011, and her mother is putting pressure on her to push her territory further south. For now it seems as if she has found a niche around the lower reaches of the Matshipiri River.
At her young age, the has already shown tremendous hunting ability, and is world famous for her acrobatic take-down of an impala that ran across her path.
The Calabash female
One of the first significant sightings of this female leopard was in January 2012, when she was mating with the Bicycle Crossing male. Later during the same year she attempted to raise a litter of two cubs in southwestern Charleston. Her litter unfortunately failed, and this was confirmed when she was again mating with the same male a few months later.
She is easily identifiable by the unusual marks on her eyes. She has previously been referred to as the ‘stained eye female’ or the ‘female with the blemish in her eyes’. Her new name refers to Calabash Drive and Calabash Crossing, which fall within her territory.
The history of this female remains a mystery. She appears to be around six years old. We would welcome any information pertaining to her past.
Ranger – MalaMala Game Reserve