What a a great sighting we had with Karula and the cubs this morning! WE are so happy so many of you were able to share this exciting moment with us!
Morning drive had ended and Marc had just reached camp as a call came in about Karula on MMM possibly with the cubs. Needless to say he responded to the call!
WE caught up with the lady strolling down MMM, the main road from the gate, with the two cubs gallivanting about her, taking in the world around them! A quick sniff here and a glance there before running to catch up with her again! The temperature had increased by this time and she may have decided it was less risky to move them, as hyenas and lions would be more likely to be asleep by then.
Marc stayed with her for a short while, until she headed back into the bush, looking like she was cutting towards the junction of Zoe's road and Philamon's cutline. With luck she might be moving the cubs further into the center of her territory now the lions have moved out the area. It is going to be interesting to see if she will use the same spots to leave the cubs as she did the boys, while she goes off hunting.
With the herd of impala gone from Impala plains, it could be one of the reasons she has moved on, to look for better hunting opportunities. She has been in the area for a few days now and the scent of the cubs will linger too, which could attract predators to their location. This could be another reason why leopards move the den site so much especially in the first few months.
It turns out she had used a den at the base of the termite mound where she was found yesterday after morning drive. A Vuyatela guide had been walking with guests in that area around 11am and found her sitting on top of the mound on the Northern side of Impala plains. I joined him in the sighting, hoping to go live with her, but the visual was very poor. Leaving her in peace, sleeping under a weeping wattle (which had been roughly 80m away from where the cubs were), Patrick went back on PM drive, to find the lady still sleeping under the same tree!
It only became clear the cubs were hidden at the termite mound, when she went back there to call them to join her as the sun was setting. WE had a brief glimpse of the cubs, but to reduce the possibility of a predator finding them, we are not allowed to use a spot light. So Patrick pulled out to leave the family cloaked under the protection of darkness.
WE do not want to put Karula and the cubs, as well as any other animal, under any stress or in danger, this is of the utmost importance to us and sometimes this may mean pulling out of a sighting. WE, as I am sure you all do, have the animal's best interests at heart. With out them there would be no WE! But as long as she allows us, WE hope to bring you many opportunities to see the cubs, to watch them grow in size, skills and hopefully become successful adult leopards just like their mum!
I hope you can join us on this wonderful journey of these two delightful little characters! For those of you who missed it here is a clip of the footage taken today!
Thank you to everyone sending in pictures this morning!
Written by Tara