Thank you so much for all the pictures and video clips you have sent in. Again it has been a very hard decision as to which ones to use! I would like to share more with you, so Karula's Blog is going to be in 3 parts! This Blog is to introduce her and give some background to her, the second how to ID her and the third focusing on what a brilliant mother she has been so far! I think these pictures sum her up as the Queen of Djuma, giving us that typical Karula look, knowing she is more than just an average leopard, which I think you will agree, she is!
Karula was born March 15 2004. She was one of two cubs in that litter, born to Safari and thought to be sired by Mafufunyane. Sadly her sister Tshemba was killed in 2006, possibly by lions or another leopard.
When I first met her I was shocked at the size of her, she is tiny! Maybe weighs in around 35-40kg. But as the saying goes, great things come in small packages and I couldn't agree more!
This clip is a great collage of pictures and video taken by Andreas Nienhaus during his visit to Djuma of Karula avoiding a lion, showing her agility and great survival sense. One of the reasons I think, she has been so successful! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_znA1BuOqE
It is thought she has one surviving sibling from the litter born December 2005, a male called Matimba. Also thought to be sired by Mafufunyane, making him a full brother to Karula. He has not been seen around here possibly since he and Karula had a fight in 2008, where their mother Safari intervened. He could have a territory elsewhere in the Sabi sands and now be known under a different name.
With a short gap between the two litters being born, this shows how capable a hunter Karula must have become at a young age. During drives we have been amazed at the lengths she will go to for a successful hunt. Watching her stalk, waiting for the perfect opportunity, showing the patience and skill of an accomplished hunter. WE have even sat holding our breath , on the edge of our seats, as she wrestled with an impala, which must have out weighed her, trying the cache it in a 4.5m high tree. Nearly killing herself in the process, she wasn't deterred, she simply regained her footing, took hold on the meat once more and heaved it up the vertical trunk to it's final resting place!
Most of her territory falls in our 1000ha traversing area, with part of Buffleshoek in the North and Little Gowrie in the South. This has ensured her being a WildEarth regular, filmed for most of her life. She has already given us insight in to the extraordinary lives of leopards in general from the harsh reality of hunting and mating to the more tender moments shared between mother and cub. More than this though WE have had such a unique opportunity to really get to know this special leopard on a personal level. Understanding her particular looks and moods, knowing her favourite haunts, den sites, even partners, teaching methods and food preferences.
She has touched the hearts of many across the world and in doing so she has helped to bring so many people together. Truly, one very special Cat and one WE all enjoy sharing!
Video clip posted by Pat, of Karula and Pieter Pretorius explaining why she is special.
I can't wait to see her again and share the next chapter of her life!
Written by Tara
With Thanks to Karen and Colleen's information from http://wildearth.ning.com