WE have seen what a beautiful and intelligent leopard Karula is, but there is another side to her. She is a mother and an excellent one at that! Cub mortality can be high, especially at a young age and yet she has successfully reared 2 litters into to adulthood and it looks like she is doing a great job at keeping the 2 month old cubs hidden from the lions so far!
The first litter being her two daughters, Saseka and Tingana (aka Thandi and Shadow). Born late 2006. Karula would have been only 2 and half years old when she conceived and this could be the reason for her small size. The girls have had their first litter this year, making them the fourth generation of Karula's family!
Karula, Mixo and Induna
The second litter, Mixo and Induna. were born November 2008. These two mischievous boys are still around in their mothers territory and I think it is safe to say WE are all happy they are! They are just over 2 years old and it is difficult to say what is going to happen. With them being young males, Karula may chase them out or they may just decide to wonder further a field on their own. We saw Induna was still around and was even tolerated by probably his own father, Yambilu-Jordaan during the mating between him and Karula in August last year.
Here is a great slide show of Karula and the boys in their first year sent in by Patricia German
Even at this early stage WE have already seen how well Karula is taking care of the cubs, keeping them well hidden from potential danger, moving them when it is warm to possibly avoid predators, hunting during the day, so she can probably be with them more at night.
Karula and Induna
If she can continue to keep them safe, WE are in for some wonderful sightings of the cubs and Karula while they grow and learn how to become leopards, just like we have seen with past litters and still are with the boys. I have full faith in Karula, she is a wise and intelligent lady with a lot of experience on her side. She is a skillful and tender mother with a lot of tolerance and patience. I hope you can join us to see how this new story unfolds as she starts to teach the cubs those valuable life skills they will need to survive.
Thanks to everyone sending in pictures and I hope to use a few more soon!
Written by Tara