Sunday, September 4, 2011

Karula's family tree - Her mate of choice, part two.


Hi everyone,

As you saw from the last Blog, Karula's mate of choice is a shy one. With him being so secretive it is difficult to say for sure if he is the father of Mixo and Induna, but judging by his interaction with the boys it is highly likely he is! The fact Karula was seen mating with him on August 1st 2010 (outside my window in camp at 4am) and on the 2nd being caught on camera by WildEarth:, we can assume he is the father of her third litter. It is hard to tell 100% as there could always be a change in males during the mating period which can last 3-4 days. During this time the male will stay close to the female, but it is possible another territorial or nomadic male can fight for the right to mate with her if he finds the pair. Having said this for this instance it is unlikely!


Not only were we amazed to be catching a leopard mating on camera but Induna, then nearly 2 years of age, was also in the vicinity. Instead of chasing the young male away, which is what we would expect, Yambilu-Jordaan accepted he was around and even spent time with him in between the matings! 

One such occasion sticks in my mind as it occurred in the first couple of months I arrived at WildEarthSafari early last year. Do you remember the usual sighting of the family sharing a meal together? Karula with the boys, when they were 18 months old, feeding on a carcass and he was close by? The whole family were then disturbed as night fell by floppy ear and her hyena clan. Mixo and Induna fled and only just made it into the tree, while Yambilu-Jordaan took it in his stride and stayed put. Incredible sighting! This wasn't the first time he has been seen with Karula and the boys and lucky for us he is repeating it with his new cubs too! 


Just in the last few drives we have seen this handsome male tolerating Induna while he fed in a tamboti tree and his son sat sleeping next to him and this morning with his family from that mating in 2010. Yambilu-Jorddan's son followed him as Karula chased a duiker. Xivindzi watched her mother disappear before joining her brother and father, who was left to babysit!

Over the last year I have seen a marked change in his behaviour. He has always been shy, even when he was first viewed on Wildearth in 2007. He would move away as soon as a vehicle approached, my first encounter with him was also very brief. Over the year I wonder if he has learned from Karula and the boys, he doesn't need to worry about the vehicles. When he has been with the family, he has stuck around with a vehicle present and maybe seeing them not react has rubbed off on him? What ever it is, it is working and he even seems to be OK with a second landy or cruiser sometimes nowadays, although a third is still too much for him to handle! 

As long as we continue to respect his space I am sure he will become more calm around the vehicles. He may not ever be as relaxed as Karula and the boys, maybe he had a bad experience when he was younger or is just a naturally cautious leopard, but he is such a handsome male I think WE would all enjoy seeing more of him!

Thanks once again to everyone contributing pictures for the Blog!


  1. Thanks Tara

    Great history of the family. It helps so much to know the background when going on Safari with you, Seb and Marc.

  2. Thank you for this update. We appreciate that you take the time and share these moments with us. Said it before, say it guys ROCK!