This morning’s Game Drive brought sad news to the Kapama family. We have been seeing large amounts of vultures in several trees surrounding an area where one of our very relaxed resident female leopards, Mbilo, had last been seen. A few days ago two River Lodge stations were present when she came out of a block with only one cub when previously there had been two. Mbilo was acting out of sorts and kept calling for the other cub but to no avail and she went off into the bush with just the one cub.

Then, this morning, a Buffalo Camp Ranger Jordan found one of the cubs dead near where Mbilo had last been seen. Several minutes later, Mbilo was sighted calling and calling for her cubs, and again, there was no answer. She traveled up and down most of the morning calling. By the time she was last seen she was still alone. At this time we are unsure of the last cub’s fate.

Later in the morning, our Head Ranger Liezel and Senior Ranger Kim, went to look to see what had been the cause of the cub’s death. It was decided by tracks seen around the cub and the size and placement of the wounds, and the tufts of hair removed, (as Leopard will do when they eat),  that another Leopard had killed him. This is not uncommon. Male Leopards, especially transient males and territorial males, will kill and sometimes even eat young cubs.

Hair tufts found at the scene

Wounds near the neck

All of us here at Kapama are saddened by the loss. But nature, as beautiful as it is, can sometimes be cruel. We are hoping that we will soon know whether or not the last cub is safe and sound with his mother.

By: Noelle DiLorenzo – River Lodge Ranger

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