We have been blessed with some fantastic, high quality leopard sightings recently on Kapama. Tonight was no different, just even better! Quite early on in the drive a young male leopard was found in the south of the reserve. He was quite skittish but the rangers that managed to see him before he crept into thick bush maintained their distance and gave him plenty of space. Not long afterwards a female resident in the northern part of the reserve was seen on a duiker kill with her two young cubs. After that another female was found in the north. She was lying in the inflow of Rooibok dam. She gradually moved in a westerly direction. She was walking with a limp and looked a bit bruised so it is possible that she was involved in a territorial battle with the other female in the same general area. I was on my way to view one of our male lions when I came across another leopard! This young male was crouching low in the long grass and as we noticed him he sat upright, gave us a look and decided he didn’t like what he saw and moved deeper into the bush! Unfortunately we were unable to keep up with him. Later that evening another female was found in the Eastern sector close to Main Lodge. She was quite relaxed. We believe that she has three very young cubs and can only assume that she has them hidden in the vicinity.
It is always particularly exciting to see leopard, as they are notoriously illusive and shy, so to see seven on Kapama in one game drive was phenomenal. It is interesting to observe how each individual is so different – both visually and characteristically. We are usually able to identify individuals by size and sex. Some also have distinct markings which helps us to identify them. And all behave and react differently to us, some being very relaxed in the presence of a game drive vehicle and others being more nervous and needing a far greater distance between us and them in order to be viewed comfortably.