Leopard update from MalaMala Game Reserve: compiled by ranger Matt Nolden

Gowrie Male Patrolling the northern Parts of the Mlowathi

The Newington male leopard mated with the young Emsagweni female. And a very short courtship it was! After chasing the Emsagweni female away (shortly after a single copulation), the Newington male spent the rest of the afternoon and evening waiting patiently for a meal beside a warthog burrow. Eventually, patience prevailed as he managed to catch a large female warthog as she attempted to escape from the burrow.

Warning: Sensitive viewers should not press play, as this video clip shows the moments just before the warthog completely surrenders.

For over a month we have had no sign of the Tamboti female leopard’s cubs. Reports indicate that the male cub is dead. The cause of death is unknown, however thankfully the little female cub has been making steady progress.

There is still no sign or evidence of the Kikilezi female successfully raising the litter we assumed she gave birth to over six weeks ago. More recent sightings have showed no signs of her lactating.

A female leopard which we have seen occasionally over the last twelve months managed to find the West Street male on the Sand River bank. The young photogenic West Street Male lay in a Jakkelberry tree with a male bushbuck kill, and was not at all impressed with her presence when she cautiously approached. He showed nothing more than irritation in response to her flirtatious behaviour. The middle aged female followed him for four more days before he finally gave-in. The two leopards then mated continuously for the following twenty-four hours. A total of six sightings over four days enabled rangers to accurately monitor their behaviour.

The Photogenic West Street Male

West Street Male with Male Bushbuck Kill in Jakkelberry Tree

Unidentified female in a Leadwood tree alongside the West Street Male.

West Street Male Ignoring the unidentified female after her relentless mating attempts.

Days later, she is still trying to court the West Street Male.

Still Flirting!!

Still Ignoring!!

Reports suggest that the cub of the Ostrich Koppies female is dead. A fitting time to share this wonderful clip captured over the month of July 2013.

The Ostrich Koppies Female's Late Cub

The ever present Marthly male leopard continues to be a force to be reckoned with. Since being named, he has made many more appearances well into the Airstrip male’s territory. The interactions between the two dominant male leopards will be an interesting one to follow over the next six months. Will the Marthly male retreat back westwards as he has demonstrated in the previous summer months? Or will he remain on sight and continue to be a threat to the leopards of MalaMala Game Reserve? There are however threats to the Marthly male himself, lurking on unfamiliar ground. This was proven when he narrowly escaped a surprise attack by members of the Styx lion pride.

6 year-Old Lioness from the Styx Pride eyeing out the last area of the Marthly Male after having chased him.

The Marthly Male Fleeing from the Styx Pride

An unbelievable start to a morning saw the Cape Hunting Dogs chase the Emsagweni female leopard off her freshly killed impala. Bens Marimane and I were following the dogs that morning when we witnessed the Emsagweni Female fleeing to the safety of a Marula tree. She watched closely over the dogs as they made ‘mince’ of her impala kill. After an attempt to reclaim a piece of the carcass, she was forced to take further cover in a small Apple leaf tree.

Back Light on Cape Hunting Dog

Cape Hunting Dogs Devouring what was left of the Emsagweni Female's Kill

Emsagweni Female in the Apple Leaf Tree after Attempting to Reclaim her Kill

Emsagweni Female in the Apple Leaf Tree after Attempting to Reclaim her Kill

Emsagweni Female in the Apple Leaf Tree after Attempting to Reclaim her Kill

Matt (Noldy) Nolden

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