Who’s the top cat?
It is often a topic of hot discussion amount the rangers, and it normally starts off along the lines of “Ok, so if the Bike and PAP …”. The bike being the Bicycle Crossing male and PAP refers to the Princess Alice Pans male – both nicknames given to two of the oldest, most dominant male leopards on MalaMala Game Reserve.
Both of these well respected leopards are held in very high regard by most, and it is time to pay homage to the Bicycle Crossing male and Princess Alice Pans male leopard’s thirteenth and fifteenth year with us, respectively.
The Bicycle Crossing male was born in 2002, to a female leopard only known as ‘the short tailed female’. As his name suggests, he was initially seen around bicycle crossing. However, he now holds his territory around the central parts of the reserve – east of the Sand River. In addition to his inspiring presence, he has also sired a number of successful offspring which clearly inherited a lot of good genes from their father. From oldest to youngest, his descendants include: The Airstrip and Charleston males (2006), the Tamboti female (2007), the Emsagweni female (2009) and the River Rocks male (2009).
Somewhat less is known about the parental origins of the Princess Alice Pans male. He was born in 2000 and although not too much is known about his youth this fifteen year old legend still patrols his territory frequently around the western bank. From what we know, the Newington male (2008) and the daughter of the Tamboti female (2012) are both the progeny of the Princess Alice Pans male.
Now, time for the real question – which is your favourite?
Pictures: James Moodie
Text: Dave Landey