Sunday, September 11, 2011

Meet Xivindzi and Xivambalana!

10 Sept 2011 Kaula and the cubs
Hi everyone!

Now Karula's boy has a name I thought I would write about these two bundles of joy!

For those who missed the drive yesterday, Karula was enjoying the views from the comfort of the deck at one of the rooms at Vuyatela knowing the occupants were away on drive I am sure! The nearby nyala had caught her eye, but sadly she was too eager and as she made her move, a shape eyed youngster gave the alarm and everyone scattered!

A beautiful painting of Xivindzi
It was only later as the sun had set she re-appeared in front of us at quarantine. As soon as Seb realised she was stalking something he switched off the light. We sat in darkness as she edged closer to her prey, but suddenly what must have been the steenbok, who has taken up residence there, shot off, leaving her empty pawed once more. Her size puzzled me and I wonder if it wasn't one of the cubs, possibly Xivindzi, who was actually hunting! As the spotted feline returned to the road we noticed the rest of the family, they must have been sitting and watching from the shadows!
Karula's daughter Xivindzi Sept 2011
Karula's daughter came to the Ganda and sat with us while she waited for mum and brother to follow. It was incredible to say the least as she walked less than a meter from Sebastien down the side of the vehicle, mean while, Karula was strolling down the other side at the same time! What a royal encounter!

Karula's son Xivambalana, Sept 2011
We followed them for a short way until they reached Zoe's road and evidently she decided to leave the cubs there as they were around Galago shortcut  again this morning! As Marc joined the sighting, a hyena appeared. Surprisingly instead of climbing a tree to be out of reach, both cubs started to move towards it! Luckily there was no food around and being a fair size now, the two 10 month old leopards could fight their corner well. Maybe this is what deterred their nemesis from an unnecessary confrontation with them!

Xivindzi, which means bold, is Karula's daughter and she does seem ready for action. You would pronounce it as Shi-vind-zze.

Xivindzi and how to identify her

The arrow on her forehead highlights how close the WOW is to being complete like her mum! The lines under this are a different angles, if you look below on her brother his are much more uniform underneath each other.

The red arrow points to her eye, if you look closely a single line is there, but on her brother he shares the "Y" with his brother Mixo.

The easiest way I tell them apart at the moment is the marks above the whisker line. Above Xivindzi's she has two dots above each other and a ^ on both sides, her brother Xivambalana has two large spots side by side above his whisker line. 

If you are new to leopard identification it is good to have a couple of things to look for on each animal. We use the face for id the most as that is the part we look at the most! 

Xivambalana and how to identify him
Xivambalana means emerald spotted wood dove, on account of his shy nature. I don't see this as a bad thing, he ers on the side of caution, especially when it comes to confrontation and this might just save his life one day! For me the bird is not bold or flashy, but if you look closely there are hidden gems and I think this sums up this little boy perfectly! You would pronounce his name as Shi-vam-ba-lan-a.

Written by Tara  


  1. Thanks Tara, the arrows are a big help!
    Now I'll test myself next time and see if I can tell!

  2. Has there ever been ANY proof of ANY kind that Xivindzi is deceased OR is it only speculation???????? IF she was seperated from Karula at flooding,, was she old enough to make it on her own?????

  3. Suzanne, as far as any of us know, it is just speculation at this point. I do remember Marc saying fairly recently when he was still doing the drives that nobody knows exactly for sure what happened to her but that they highly suspected that she had passed away. I personally think she was old enough to survive the flooding though.