Monday, May 2, 2011

Meet the cubs!

Female, 12 April, Weaver's Nest road.
Hi everyone!

We had word from the guides this morning, Karula's cubs were found just West of MMM opposite the junction with Impala plains. There is some confusion as to whether Karula was with them or not though. For now they are just outside our traversing area, she may bring them back to Western Gowrie this evening!

I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the distinguishing features of Karula's cubs for future reference! 

Male, 12 April, 5 months old, Weaver's nest road
The little male, apart from being larger than his sister, has 2 large spots above his whisker line and at the corner of his left eye a "Z". Leopards don't change their spots, but they do grow as the cub grows. It will be interesting to see how big this feature gets!

Male, 1 April, Chela Pan road.

Interesting pattern between the eyes, but you may notice next to the two arrows the line of spots are parallel to each other and the same is true for the opposite side! I wonder if the fainter third line below the red arrow will become a bit bolder as he gets older? I have concentrated on the left and front for now until we have clear shots of the right side!

On to his sister! If you look next to the blue arrow in the picture below, she also has 2 spots but they are verticle from the whisker line and next to the black arrow, a small chevron. I found the mark above her right eye to be an interesting squiggle too! 

Female, 12 April, 5 months old, Weaver's Nest road

You may have seen the behind the scenes clip myself and Seb managed to film, pf the cubs in the rain. If you haven't here is the link. Karula was found by guides on the Western side of MMM, with the cubs safely in a tree out of reach from the jaws of a hyena. Once the threat had disappeared, she continued to move the cubs towards Western Gowrie, where Ganda was trying to catch up with them, but sadly mother nature had other plans and down came the rain, so the Ganda returned to camp!
At this stage WE had only seen the cubs twice, so myself and Seb decided to head out and get some footage and pictures to share with everyone, which is where the video came from! When we arrived Karula was lying on the ground with one cub visible in the tree. It turns out that cub was the female looking very miserable in the rain!

Female, 17 Feb, 3 months old, MMM
I have pointed out the vertical spots above the whisker line again and a small, almost complete, ring between her eyes which I think will be quite distinctive as she grows! Again I don't have any clear pictures of her right side, but hope this helps!

Male, 12 April, Weaver's nest road.

The features I have pointed out are the most striking to me, you may see different ones! As for the names, it is  usual in the Sabi sands for leopards to be given names after they reach a year old and the honor is usually given to the guide who is first to see them. The reason being cub mortality is generally high and it gives a chance for personalities of those that survive, to develop. For the previous 2 litters WE have been allowed to name the cubs earlier. This time we have been waiting to confirm the sexes and now WE hope to have names for the cubs as soon as we know a bit more about their particular personalities!

 Written by Tara


  1. Thanks Tara! I was worried about the cubs this am because someone in chat thought only one had been seen... good to hear it is both! Thanks for the marks id-ing... I am so looking forward to seeing them as they mature!

  2. Thank you so much Tara for the pictures and identification marks...We will have fun getting to know these two cuties better in the following months.