Saturday, June 11, 2011

Karula's family tree - Her Son Mixo, part two.

Hi everyone!

It has been a while since I have written about Karula’s family and realise I have still yet to discuss the character of her son Mixo!

From what I can gather he was fairly independent from the word go. Induna seemed to keep close to his mum, Karula and she seemed to dote more on him than Mixo. I think in a way it helped him become the leopard he is today.

He seemed to be more willing to hunt larger prey than his brother at the same age. His first large kill we found him with, was a duiker and for a while he was seen on a more regular basis than his brother Induna. This could be the reason why we thought he was mastering the art of hunting big prey earlier than his sibling, but without seeing Induna as much, it is difficult to say for sure.

Mixo warning his bother to keep his distance!
We followed this boy as he started becoming a successful cat in his own right, showing the ability to hunt guinea fowl, dwarf mongoose and impala; he is even partial to the odd tortoise.

One of the close encounters!
His independence seems to go hand in hand with his bold attitude and on a couple of occasions he found himself almost nose to nose with a hyena, when he was over 18 months. He stood his ground and not having any meat with him; the hyena respected the fact and let him be; maybe a bit wary because he didn’t turn tail and run too!
Mixo checks out the cheetah!
He has also had an encounter with a cheetah in the past and I think maybe the first time in doing so. He wasn’t quite sure how to handle it. At first he was crouched low, then craned his neck for a better view! It was at this point the male cheetah saw him and he suddenly became very uneasy; looking around for possible escape routes in case it turned bad. (from his reaction, to me he has encountered his spotted cousins before.) A stalemate was evident, neither cat sure of what to do, it was only when the cheetah started to flee, did Mixo realise he was feared and gave chase, but only for a few metres! He returned to a termite mound very pleased with himself!

I must admit I miss seeing him. We have had reports he spends a lot of time in the South West, but he is getting to the age where he needs to move out of his mother’s territory and start looking to hold one of his own. He may stay a nomad if he isn’t successful, dogging the large males wrath until maybe an area opens up.

We did see a reunion between the brothers a short while ago on the open area with the remains of a kill. It is difficult to say how much time he really spends here now, but when we do see him, he is just as relaxed as his mother and when we do see him, he generally graces us with a walk by, maybe just reminding us he is still around!

Mixo asking us to move politely! 

I remember another thrilling encounter where myself and Marc were following him, Marc was driving, I was on camera and we unwittingly stopped on the remains of something. Mixo noticed it and approached us, almost requesting we move! He looked at us and came within, it must have been half a meter of Marc's leg, looking like he was going to clamber under the vehicle. Thankfully he decided against it and with a look up at me and everyone back home, he started to sniff the ground in search of other parts that might be hidden. It was only when we moved, did we find there were a few shards of bones!

Seeming to have his mother’s life skills I am sure he will do well for himself! I must admit he holds a special place in my heart, for he was the first leopard I ever saw here at Djuma Game Reserve and even at his tender age of just over a year old, he came within 5m of us which had me buzzing for quite a while as it was the first time I had ever been that close to a wild leopard and spent quality time with one!

My first sight of Mixo!
I hope he doesn't wonder too far from home and continues to drop in from time to time!
Thank you to everyone sending in pictures of Mixo and the bringing back the memories of one of our special boys!

Written by Tara 

1 comment:

  1. oh tara i have so many pics of these two boys its awesome We watched them grow from the start We watched them plat we watched them grow I cried the day karula called and called and got no answer.Yes Induna was a mommas boy and we worried so much about him.We rejoiced when we saw their first kill we laughed as they honed their skills as hunters.Its hard to lose a child let alone two nut we are so glad to hear they are doing well and have grown up to be awesome leopards>They have the build of their daddy and the look of their mom.Thank ya for the step back in time We so cherish these memories Gloria (Texas)