Karula is in hiding again and I don't blame her with the Nkuhuma pride and Gijima males around. They have headed East and sounds like Karula could possibly have headed West to avoid them. Two cubs were seen by the Gowrie gate guards around 21.00 last night, in the middle of play their mother came to join them, leading her small family towards Simbambili. It is difficult to say for sure, but it could have been Karula and it would make sense with the resent activity of the lions and hyenas in the area!
Lets have a closer look at her daughter, Saseka, which means beautiful. Her official name being Thandi. You will hear us refer to her as this on the radio, as it is the name used by the rest of the guides. The guide who sees the cubs first generally gets to name them, but only after a year. The reason being the mortality rate can be high during this critical time. That is one of the reasons why Karula is so special to us, as she has successfully reared 2 litters to adulthood. Can she do it a third time? WE truly hope so!
She was the first offspring to be born to Karula around mid December 2006, along with her sister Tingana, (official name Shadow). So far they are the only daughters of Karula. The father is thought to be Mafufunyane. At the time of mating, Karula would have been just under 3 years old.
The girls were first seen in February 2007 and looked to be around 8 weeks old. They eventually went their separate ways and it seems Saseka is being found nowadays towards the South East of us, around Cheetah plains. She visits her mother's territory from time to time around twin dams and tree house dam.
It is such a joy to hear this beautiful leopard has had 2 cubs of her own, being seen for the first time by a guide on the 18 Jan at Cheetah Plains. She was seen mating with the stunning male Mvula last year. With any luck she will have her mother's ability for rearing cubs!
She seems to be darker in colour compared to her mother and sister. Over her left eye there is a "Y" mark, under the left eye are "eyelash" markings. From the corners of both eyes she looks like she is wearing eye makeup like the ancient Egyptians use to wear, a straight line. She also has a nick in her left ear.
Thank you so much to everyone sending in pictures, it was a difficult choice, but great to have so many wonderful shots of her to choose from and to share with all the WE family! Thanks to Karen and Colleen for the information they have compiled over the years about the leopards and to Lou Ann Wile with help on how to Id her! I hope some day those of us who have never met her will have the chance to do so!
Written by Tara