Saturday, March 19, 2011

Karula's family tree - Her daughter Tingana

Hi everyone!
It's been a while seen we have dipped into Karula's family tree, so I thought we would focus on  her other daughter from her first litter. She is known to us as Tingana, meaning "shy one". Her official name being Shadow, possibly came from her staying in the shadows, being shy!

She was the first offspring to be born to Karula around mid December 2006, along with her sister Saseka (offical name Thandi). At the time of mating, Karula would have been just under 3 years old. The father is thought to be Mafufunyane, although not confirmed, due to his interaction with Karula and the cubs when they were young, it looks highly likely!

Tingana snarling at Saseka 
First seen in February 2007 the two girls looked to be around 8 weeks old. Tingana now spends more time in the South West, taking a territory close to her grand mother's, Safari, in Arathusa. If she wonders onto Karula's territory she is seen around Impala plains and Gowrie main area. 

She was seen mating with Yambilu-Jordaan by Arathusa guides and gave birth to her first litter around September last year. It is difficult to say if he is the father. Sadly cub mortality can be high and only one cub now remains. I do not know what the fate of the lost cub was. With them being so tiny, they are vulnerable to a number of predators from jackal and snakes to hyena and lion. They can also be killed by other male leopards who have not sired the cubs. Females move the cubs around so much to possibly to reduce the chance of a predator or other leopards detecting them.

To id her, the most distinctive feature is the "v"notch in the top of her right ear as seen in the picture above. 
On her chest, she has a "Y" collar, but I always find it difficult to see this on any leopard! 

The picture below showing her forehead, you can see it almost looks like she has a small heart, some say a butterfly, shape which also looks quite distinctive.

The whisker pattern on her left side is also interesting, with 2 spots and a blotch almost forming a triangle with the lower whisker line, as you can see in the picture below.

Thank you again to everyone sending in pictures of this shy beauty! Also thanks to Lou Ann for id information as well as Karen and Colleen for all the information gathered over the years about these stunning creatures, in particular Karula and her extending family! I hope WE get chance to see Tingana and her cub sometime when she comes to visit!

Speaking of Karula, she could possibly be making her way North now. I am told there were tracks found on Cheetah cutline of a female leopard this morning, which could have belonged to her! It is going to be interesting to see where she pops up next!

Written by Tara
On the 12/03/2011

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