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Leopard Directory

Argentina Tshokwane Offline
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#46

@Ngala Wow... How can there be such a perfect feline?

Thank you for sharing this, absolutely amazing leopard.
‘Like night-watchmen they patrol the dark nights; marching with intent and chasing all those unwanted into the shadows…those that do not run are removed’
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Italy Ngala Offline
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#47

You're welcome Majingilane. 

Just what i thought when i saw the photo of this tank!
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Italy Ngala Offline
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#48

A nomadic male, the Flat Rock male (introduced in the reply #42), moved in the territory of the late Robson's/4:4 male.

From Londolozi Game Reserve, 16 November 2016: The Nomad by Nick Kleer
“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” – Unknown

Leopard cubs are born after a gestation period of roughly 90-100 days and are born completely blind, and remain so for the first 10 days of their lives . They are born in concealed dens in and amongst rocks, termite mound holes, fallen and hollowed out trees and amongst very dense thickets. Their mother will potentially move them to a new den-site every few days by carrying them until they are old enough to walk alongside her (usually at around 8 weeks) which is the age that they will be introduced to meat for the first time. They will be weaned by around 4 months of age and will then be feeding exclusively on meat provided by their mother. Cubs will usually start making small kills anywhere from 6-12 months old and will usually be “abandoned” by their mother anywhere between 18 – 24 months of age according to the textbooks, but we have seen cubs leave their mothers at less than a year and survive, while others sometimes remain dependent until over the age of three.

Upon reaching independence, male and female cubs start to have very different paths. Usually a mother leopard will “surrender” a small piece of her territory for her daughter, while the male will leave the area due to the presence of dominant males.

Survival rates for leopards in their first year of life are not very high due to a number of factors and it doesn’t become any easier to survive when they lose the protection of their mothers. On top of that, the young males now have to venture into unfamiliar territories and avoid being killed by lions and other leopards. It is a very vulnerable stage of their lives and they spend a few years being nomadic and avoiding danger until they reach an age where they can challenge for a territory of their own (usually between 5-6 years).

We have recently seen the unfortunate passing of the 4:4 male, and his death sees the western side of Londolozi (to the south of the river) vacant. Who is going to take over this area is the question we’ve all been asking. Possibly the Piva male, Anderson male or the Makothini male? Well, for the time being, it is still unclaimed and the “free” territory has been filled by a young and very entertaining character.

Enter the young nomad.

Young and curious- still having the characteristics of a cub.

*This image is copyright of its original author

It is always a treat viewing a new leopard for the first time and this young male is very bold and curious, which is normal for a young male but fascinating to watch. This  male is known in the southern Sabi Sands as the Flat Rock male, as Kevin Power mentioned in a previous blog, and was born just south of the Sabi River near Lion Sands Game Reserve. He is around 3 years old and has been seen hanging around in the area that the 4:4 male used to occupy. He has already had a run-in with the Mashaba female and she seems not to be pleased with his presence, due to the fact that she may be denning cubs sired by the 4:4 male. The Mashaba young female also occupies this area and has been seen a little less since he arrived. This could also just be a coincidence, considering that she has not been on her own for very long. This new leopard may ruffle a few feathers, and is at risk as the much larger Piva male has been seen moving further west than he normally does, opening up the potential for their paths to cross in future.

The Mashaba female watches the young male move off after he chased her up this tree.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Whether or not he sticks around will remain to be seen. For now the chance of viewing this young nomad is a possibility and, if you are lucky enough to see him, you are in for a serious treat.

Scanning the surroundings before descending a tree from his hoisted kill.

*This image is copyright of its original author

After an encounter with the Mashaba female, the young male quenches his thirst in a nearby pan.

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The Mashaba female makes sure the intruder is gone before she moves away from the area of the confrontation.

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

The newly independent Mashaba young female needs to be extra cautious now that her father no longer protects her territory.

*This image is copyright of its original author
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Italy Ngala Offline
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( This post was last modified: 01-03-2017, 09:27 PM by Ngala )

From Londolozi Game Reserve, 02 January 2017: In Memoriam: Departed Leopards of 2016 by James Tyrrell
I think when one first starts as a young and most likely naive ranger at Londolozi, you tend to feel there is a certain air of permanence about the leopards that inhabit the reserve.  You see them as almost perennial characters in the ongoing drama that is life in the bush.
Sadly, that is not the case, as one soon gets to realise. Things change, the old go and the new come in.

Much as 2016 was a startling year in which the world lost many favourite sons and daughters, with names like Mohammed Ali, George Michael and David Bowie being just a few who are no longer with us, the Londolozi leopard ID kit also has a number of individuals who will no longer grace the “currently viewed” pages.
This is not meant to be a post of despair, but a celebration of some of the leopards that will no longer be filling the viewfinders of cameras as of 2016. Some were rarely seen, some were far more prominent in Londolozi leopard lore, yet all played their part in adding to the allure and mysticism that defines their species.

5:5 Male

Moving into the area in 2011 and placing immense pressure on the Camp Pan male.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Achieving immortality through being “adopted” by his grandmother, the 3:4 female, as a cub, the 5:5 male redefined some of the traditional beliefs about the presumed solitary existence of leopards. Observed sharing kills with his ageing grandmother in the twilight of her life, he made us look far more closely at the interrelationships between these marvelous cats.
Although we didn’t see him too much in the latter stages of his life, with most of his territory falling east of Londolozi, he became fairly nomadic towards the end, being ousted by younger males and sadly eventually being caught and mauled by the Tsalala pride in the Manyelethi River in the Winter of 2016. He succumbed to his wounds a few days later.

4:4 Male

For me this picture is accurately representative of the life of the 4:4 male. Half in the shadows…

*This image is copyright of its original author

The cat that in many ways defined perfectly what it means to be a wild African leopard, the 4:4 male’s life was forever in shadow. In an area defined by the viewing relationship we have with these big cats, it was a wonderfully refreshing thing to have an individual who almost refused to conform. Seemingly disdainful of our continued attempts to track him down and view him, the 4:4 male was unpredictable at best. His elusiveness only added to his appeal.

Like the 5:5 male, he fell victim to lions, and was mauled by the Mhangeni Breakway pride in October. At first it appeared that he had got away almost unscathed, but his apparently superficial wounds were graver than we feared, and he died on the night of 13th October.


Maliliwane female

Resting in a conveniently sloping knobthorn tree. The 2:2 spot pattern of the Maliliwane female along with her pink nose made her instantly recognisable.

*This image is copyright of its original author

One of a few leopards who weren’t often encountered on Londolozi, the Maliliwane female inhabited the north-eastern parts of the property. She would occasionally provide glorious sightings; hoisted kills in marula trees, cubs we didn’t even know she had, or simply walking down on of the boundary roads, but she was certainly not part of the mainstay of our leopard viewing here.

Sadly, her disappearance came at a time when she was known to be raising at least two young cubs. She was seen in a fairly poor and emaciated condition by rangers outside of Londolozi, and it was suspected that she may even have been bitten by a venomous snake of some sort. After no more sightings of her were had, it was accepted that she had died early in 2016.

Ximpalapala female

A rare close-up of the notoriously skittish Ximpalapala female. Photograph by Trevor McCall-Peat

*This image is copyright of its original author

The first time I managed to capture a photo of this leopard, she had been treed by a pack of wild dogs and couldn’t descend to make her usual escape from the prying cameras that she forever seemed to evade. I think it was over two years later before I managed to get another one.

Notoriously shy around vehicles, she did seem to relax in her later years, and although she is almost certainly gone, her legacy lives on in her daughter the Tatowa female, who inhabits the central areas of Londolozi.

Like many leopards in the wild, we will never know what happened to her. Sightings of her simply dried up, and new, younger leopards began being seen in her territory. The last sighting of her was sometime in the winter of 2016.

Tutlwa female

Kevin Power’s iconic photograph of the Tutlwa female.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Probably my two most serious encounters with leopards were both with the Tutlwa female. On both occasions, the outcome could have been very different, but somehow I was lucky enough to walk away with an intact skin. Given our shaky history, the Tutlwa female should not rank among my favourite leopards, but amongst all the females I have been lucky enough to view over the years, she still occupies the top spot, maybe exactly for that reason.

A leopard also infrequently seen, mainly owing to the inaccessibility of much of her territory, she was nevertheless relaxed around the Land Rovers, having been viewed frequently in her youth with her mother, the Vomba female.

Often to be found lying in the cool shade of a marula tree on the Ximpalapala crest, she provided many guests and rangers alike with unrivalled photographic opportunities.
Like the Ximpalapala female, sightings of her simply stopped towards the end of 2016, and given how much the Mhangeni Breakaway pride was favouring the Sand River in their movements at the time, it is not unlikely that the Tutlwa female met the same fate as the 4:4 male.

With the loss of some comes the moving in or maturing of others, so as in most things, change, it seems, is the only constant in the leopard population of Londolozi…
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Italy Ngala Offline
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( This post was last modified: 01-15-2017, 09:58 PM by Ngala )

Credits to the find @Pckts

Photo and information credits: Shaaz Jung Photography

Leopards of Kabini

Scarface shaped my destiny, Cleopatra and her first born showed me the importance of family and unity, it was Torn Ears who taught me never to back down and Monk’s endless journey that allowed me to transcend time. These cats were more than just animals and were more human than most people, each with strong individual characteristics that helped shape mine. They are the leopards of Kabini and their lives will forever hold the most important chapter in my book of life. 

Scarface was where the journey began. Easily the heartthrob of Kabini, he earned him name after he took over the territory, close to a decade ago, from the mighty Pardus. Their gruesome fight was the first real encounter i’ve seen between two big males. The following day, Scarface emerged with an enormous gash across his face, a scar that would give him one of the most powerful identities. This backwater beauty makes it look easy. A true King. 

Torn Ears swept into our lives on an eerie December evening like a cold winters breeze. Like many wondering males, we didn’t expect much from him but it’s safe to say we have never been more wrong. Unlike most young males, Torn Ears was far from good-looking due to his aggressive nature and eagerness to fight which always left him short of a full ear. On his arrival, he lost half his right ear and a quarter of his left in a nasty battle with the Bisalawadi male. His warrior ways led to him being one of the most most dominant and successful males the area has seen. Many confuse him to be the temple male, and though he seen more often in and around the temple area, there can only be one temple male.

Meet Monk, the original temple male. He is undoubtedly the oldest and most precious. The first recorded picture of monk was in 2003 where he looked no more than a year old. Having lost most of his canines, Monk is often seen shredding his meat and swallowing it whole. A difficult leopard to see, Monk’s elusive nature fools many into believing he doesn’t exist anymore. Fortunately we caught a glimpse of him a couple of months ago sitting at the base of the temple. With Torn Ears often seen marking his territory on the temple, Monk refuses to leave but prefers not to get into a fight. Until he is no longer seen for at least a year or more, he will always be my original temple male and with almost 15 years of owning the temple, he deserves to be called that till kingdom come. 

Pardus defines the man animal conflict with his remarkable transition of being a forest leopard to one that now holds most of his territory in the villages that border the backwaters. Commonly seen between 2006 and 2009 in the backwater area and on main roads that cut through the forest, his fight with Scarface, left him with a permanently injured left eye and pushed him over the fence. With easy livestock for prey, Pardus is now often seen around the sugarcane fields at night. He is easily the largest leopard i have ever seen and my last sighting of him was a few months ago on our fields where he was seen eating a dog. 

My first sighting of Kate was in 2009. I was fortunate to grab a picture of her with my sisters point and shoot camera. Little did i know she would grow to mother many of the females (Nallah and Marble) we now see in the tourism zone. Being the Sunkadakatte female for over 8 years now, we thought ‘Katte’ which then became ‘Kate’ would suit her best. She is the largest female i’ve seen and is often mistaken for a male. 

Marble was only three months old when we first saw her with Kate. Her enourrmass eyes, like two marbles, were emerald green and occupied most of her face. She is one of the more commonly seen females in the park and now mothers two cubs. 

Boor, daughter of the late Moonface, is probably the oldest leopardesses in the area. Her territory is small and spans the Udboor area, hence the name Boor. Sightings of Boor have increased over the last few years as we were given access to the MM road which cut through her territory. The surge in vehicles forced her to adapt and become bolder, which in turn allowed us to spend more time with her. 

Vader, the new male thats taken over the Kymara, Bisalwadi and Barreballe territory, reminds us of a young version of Torn Ears. From the fringes, he pushed the famous Black Panther deeper into the tourism zone. His invasive nature and eagerness to invade territories has seen him hold onto a precious patch of forest that’s home to the largest waterbody. Keep an eye out for this feisty fellow with an extremely round face and a prominent ’S’ on his forehead. 

Last but not least, my most favourite and most beautiful. Cleopatra has to be the queen of Kabini. Scarface and her will always be the pioneers as their bold characters gave many a chance to enjoy a leopard like never before. This leopardess of life has given birth to many litters (Alex, A2P, Frodo, Hook and more). She soon became the symbol of life and love as she nurtured each and every one of her cubs to adulthood. Every now and then one of them return to greet her and when they do i can’t help but get teary eyed. her families taught me the meaning of life and how to love. 

For those who have read this far, i will be publishing a book soon with many short stories and pictures of moments in the wild (some mentioned above). As for these leopards; these are not their official names. I have personally given them these names, based on their characteristics, territory, markings and our experiences with them. Please feel free to use these names or call them whatever you want.

*This image is copyright of its original author
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Pakistan fursan syed Offline
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( This post was last modified: 01-19-2017, 01:32 PM by fursan syed )

Legendary Rock Drift Male (Tjololo)

*This image is copyright of its original author
Mala Mala Sighting Reports Of 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007

2000

JANUARY 2000

Location: CENTRAL WEST FLOCKFIELD/ CENTRAL CHARLESTON
 
(12 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male again provided some good viewing during January and has certainly consolidated his hold on the central and southern areas of Mala Mala. His behaviour indicates that he is still expanding his territory slightly, now being seen regularly west of the Kapen River and close to the Sand River. His northward movements seem to be as far as the Kapen River where it flows more east-west and he has now been encountered as far south as the Sand River where it flows east-west. This territory then includes at least three female leopards, these being the Kapen and Chellahanga Females and the female which has a territory to the north east of the Chellahanga Female. How the death of the Island Crossing Male will affect things will need to be seen, but if the Rock Drift Male does move west to incorporate the eastern bank of the Sand River on Charleston and Toulon, then this would put him squarely into the territory of the Toulon Female which has a male cub of a year or so of age. Since this cub was fathered by the Island Crossing Male and is still dependent upon the Toulon Female, he would be in danger of being killed by the Rock Drift Male. Several of the sightings of the Rock Drift Male were of him with impala kills. The energy required to regularly patrol his territory can be seen with the speed with which these kills have been consumed. Any neglect on territory maintenance would be quickly picked up by other eager male leopards and acted upon, so not only are kills consumed with speed, but also as soon as this has happened, the Rock Drift Male paces off to patrol.

FEBRUARY/ MARCH/ APRIL 2000
 
Location: WESTERN FLOCKFIELD
 
(8 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male leopard has, as suspected several months ago, continued to expand his range further north, now venturing onto the lower reaches of the Matshapiri River. Reports from the film crew working on Mala Mala had him mating with the White Cloth Female in mid-March and with the Chellahanga Female in late April. The mating with the White Cloth Female took place close to the northern bank of the Sand River on NE Toulon, far south on the reserve. It is not known if the Rock Drift Male has made any movements to dominate the area east of the Sand River on western Charleston, this once part of the territory of the late Island Crossing Male. However, with his present movements and matings, the Rock Drift Male has at least four female leopards within his territory. It will be interesting to see if he does move even further north so that his territory encompasses the complete area controlled by the White Cloth Female.. However, as dominant as this confidant male leopard may be, things could of course alter overnight as was nearly the situation during April when the Rock Drift Male was found sporting some nasty looking wounds, perhaps from an encounter with a dangerous prey animal such as a Warthog or from another predator such as lion or hyaena. Effective territorial control also means that the boundaries of such an area get patrolled on a regular basis. In the case of the Rock Drift Male, the size of his territory means a massive energy expenditure and this can been seen not only with the number of kills he makes, but also the speed with which such carcasses are consumed.

MAY 2000
 
Location: CENTRAL & WESTERN FLOCKFIELD/ NORTH CENTRAL CHARLESTON
 
(9 sightings)
Sightings of the Rock Drift Male during May continued to reflect his movements to the north of the Kapen River, extending as far as the lower reaches of the Matshapiri. Given his now substantial territory, he has continued to cover it with remarkable pace, but at the same time, having to 're-fuel' all the time to get enough energy to continue. Such is the appetite of this large leopard that an adult impala will be consumed in only 36 hours. One of the kills which the Rock Drift Male made this month was hoisted into a tree not well chosen. Apparently lions had chanced upon the hunting leopard and in his urgency to prevent the impala which he had killed from falling into the claws of the lions, the leopard clambered up the first available tree. Not only was the tree very thin which made the physical aspects of eating exceptionally difficult, but the pelvis of the impala became wedged in a fork of the tree, preventing the leopard from moving it to another location. This resulted in some hilarious contortions as the large cat attempted to feed from the kill. Earlier in the month this leopard lost an adult female impala kill to three hyaenas as he was still strangling the antelope. As large in size as he is and as dominant as he may be, the Rock Drift Male is still a leopard - solitary and vulnerable to pack animals such as hyaenas and lions. Of course one thing which the Rock Drift Male must be careful of is trying to claim too large a territory. This could end up with him being absent from one far-flung area for too long, so allowing other males access to the females. For the Rock Drift Male the temptation is surely there; the demise of the Island Crossing Male as well as the flooded Sand River has left the areas south and west of his usual range vacant and ripe for take-over. If this is done, then he may include the Toulon Female into his growing harem or force her out of the area should another male on the opposite bank of the Sand River 'claim' her. However, expansionist policy from the Rock Drift Male could be carried too far and future consolidation may become necessary
 
JUNE 2000
 
Location: WESTERN FLOCKFIELD/ SOUTHERN CHARLESTON
 
(8 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male continued to give fine viewing this month, roaming vast areas of the reserve. It has been speculated that although this large male leopard is certainly powerful and full of energy, he may have somewhat over-expanded and would struggle to effectively control his area. This month there was some indication of battles to come with the reappearance after many months of an old adversary of his, another large male which the Rock Drift Male had several interactions with last year. This other male leopard was at the time the loser in these territorial stand-off's, but now that he has returned appears bigger and more confidant. There were several days this month when this male was found deep within the area regarded as being prime Rock Drift Male territory. Confrontation is inevitable; it may be long-term and violent or it may be just the opposite and new or existing boundaries will be agreed upon. Nevertheless, the Rock Drift Male will be facing a major challenge in the near future. There are of course always other factors which could influence the health of a leopard and hence which controls what territory. This month the Rock Drift Male narrowly escaped death when, after killing an impala, lions of the Eyrefield Pride chased him up a tree. The lions would dearly have liked to have taken the kill, but at the same time would have settled with killing the leopard, this simply to remove any potential competition from the area. Fortunately the vigilance and agility of the leopard won the day and he escaped.

JULY 2000
 
Location: CENTRAL & WESTERN FLOCKFIELD/ CENTRAL & WESTERN CHARLESTON
 
(11 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male continued with his performance as a dominant male leopard of the central-west and southern parts of Mala Mala north of the Sand River. However, the pressure applied by the other large male which has returned to the area has probably been responsible for the Rock Drift Male staying away from the areas north of the Kapen River, so somewhat excluding the White Cloth Female from his territory. This, however, may be a good thing for the other female leopards which occupy the remainder of his domain as it should allow him to consolidate and hold that area with greater effect, so protecting it from the incursions of other males. As always, these territorial demands meant that the Rock Drift Male covered ground with great pace, killing when he could and consuming such carcasses with great speed. Perhaps the most noteworthy event involving the Rock Drift Male and which was recorded during this game report period was him mating with the old Chellahanga Female. Historically it has been seen that the Chellahanga Female battles to fall pregnant and this again appears to be the case as this is the latest of several matings between this pair.
 
AUGUST 2000
 
Location: CENTRAL & WESTERN FLOCKFIELD/ CENTRAL & SE CHARLESTON/ NE TOULON
 
(9 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male continued to provide good viewing this month with both sides of a leopard, the majestic and the disgusting, being seen. Fulfilling the latter was a sighting of the Rock Drift Male eating the putrid carcass of an adult baboon which had evidently died some days before being found by the leopard. Unfortunately human values often misinterpret such behaviour and the noble golden cat becomes a lowly scavenger. In reality, however, it represents a successful carnivore, prepared to eat whatever protein is available, so wasting nothing. And given the vast territory which the Rock Drift Male must cover, every scrap of energy is needed. Over the last few months the reappearance of an old adversary raised speculation that the northerly territorial advances shown some months ago by the Rock Drift male would cease and that he would consolidate his area south of the Kapen River. However, this month he was once again north of this stream, this time finding the remains of another leopards' kill (an impala) in a tree. The other leopard, perhaps the White Cloth Female, was not seen and once these scraps had been eaten, the Rock Drift Male moved south again. At one sighting along what is believed to be the very south-eastern boundary of his territory, the Rock Drift Male was seen pacing alongside another male leopard. The two of them were not seen to interact physically and after some posturing, both went their separate ways, evidently satisfied that they had reaffirmed their common boundary.

SEPTEMBER 2000
 
Location: WESTERN FLOCKFIELD/ CHARLESTON
 
(9 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male continued to dominate the centre-south of Mala Mala, appearing perhaps more vigorous than ever before. Towards the beginning of this game report period he was found mating with the old Chellahanga Female, she having followed him far north out of her territory, at one stage entering even the southern parts of the area covered by the White Cloth Female. Towards the middle of the month the Rock Drift Male was again in business, this time with the Newington Female which had a few days earlier been mating with her old mate from further north. The reason why she would abandon him and seek out the Rock Drift Male is not certain, but perhaps the latter is younger and the Newington Female could sense the greater vigour. What remains to be seen is whether she will try to move so that her territory overlaps with his, or whether the Rock Drift Male pushes north and west over the Sand River to claim the current territory of the Newington Female. There was a brief interaction between the Rock Drift Male and the male leopard which has established himself to the south and west of the Sand River opposite where the Rock Drift Male roams. The meeting was over the distance of the riverbed and the leopards were merely aware of the presence of the other and no physical contact was made.

OCTOBER 2000
 
Location: CENTRAL & WESTERN FLOCKFIELD/ WESTERN & CENTRAL CHARLESTON
 
(14 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male provided some really good viewing this month, but, by the end of things, was probably a much-fatigued animal. At the beginning of the month, the Rock Drift Male was seen with what was probably the Newington Female, circumstances prevented identification. A day or so later this same leopard was seen with the male, somewhat further north and east and watched by the Paradise Valley Female in whose territory they were. Several days later the Rock Drift Male and the Newington Female emerged from the bushes of eastern Flockfield, not much further north of where this last sighting had occurred. Both leopards were noticeably thin, indicating that they had just completed a lengthy mating session. Two weeks later the Rock Drift Male was again mating, this time with the old Chellahanga Female which simply refuses to fall pregnant. This mating lasted several days, with the male abandoning the Chellahanga Female when she still seemed keen to continue - a duiker running past the pair as they were copulating caused the male to dash off, never to return, this in spite of the fact that the Chellahanga Female followed some ways after him. That evening the Rock Drift Male was being followed by another female leopard, this time a young and nervous female whose identity was not known. Although this young leopard was certainly eager to get the males' attention and he was quite aware of her presence, he was not seen to respond and continued on what appeared to be a territory marking exercise. This would of course be something to take note of in the highly competitive world of territory maintenance; if too much time is spent in sedentary mating, the patrols and protection of territorial borders may well be neglected. Towards the beginning of the game report period the White Cloth Female joined the Rock Drift Male at a kill which he had made. It is not known if the Rock Drift Male is the father of the litter of cubs born to the White Cloth Female this month. In spite of her meeting up with him, the White Cloth Female still wanders far outside his territorial limits.

NOVEMBER 2000
 
Location: CENTRAL & W FLOCKFIELD/ CHARLESTON (east of the river)/ TOULON (north of the river)
 
(15 sightings - several of these of him with other leopards)
The Rock Drift Male continued to provide some of the best leopard viewing during November with kills, matings and other leopard behaviour all being witnessed this month. Of the matings seen, one event was with a young and quite nervous female. This lasted for perhaps three days and the female followed him for many kilometers from close to the southern Mala Mala/ Kruger National Park boundary until the edge of his territory on the Sand River on the central western parts of the reserve. A lioness from the Eyrefield Pride finally broke up this get-together when she chased the two leopards. On either side of this mating, the Rock Dirft Male also mated with the Newington Female, once at the beginning of the month and then again three or so weeks later. These two leopards have now been seen mating at least four times in the last few months. During the course of the second mating, the two leopards were again chased by a lion. The two afore-mentioned events were certainly not the only lion encounters the Rock Drift Male experienced this month. At the beginning of the game-report-period, he was seen killing an adult female impala and immediatley hoisting it up a large Jakkalberry tree. The kill jammed in a fork of the tree and no matter what the leopard did, he could not pull it any higher. Letting go, the kill thudded to the ground and the Rock Drift Male descended to start feeding, first pulling the foetus out. Partly satisfied, the leopard then examined the tree more closely and took the carcass high up into the branches, wedging it securely. However, the following day, whilst he was away drinking, some lionesses from the Eyrefield Pride arrived on the scene, scaled the tree and stole the kill. Fortunately for the leopard he returned cautiously and saw the lions - goodness knows what frustration he must have felt upon seeing that his hard-earned meal had been taken, but given the nature of these spotted cats, he wisely retreated, saving himself for another time. Relative to local observations of other male leopards, the Rock Drift Male appears more fatherly than most. This month he was seen interacting with at least two of his offspring, showing nothing but apparent affection and paternal pride. In the one instance, one of his sons, one of the approximately 2-year-old cubs of the Paradise valley Female, was permitted to eat almost an entire female bushbuck which the Rock Drift Male had killed and taken into a tree. Whilst the young leopard was on the kill, the Rock Drift Male was at the base of the tree, showing not the slighest bit of aggression. On another occasion he paid a brief visit to the Kapen Female and year-old daughter, again displaying no behaviour which may have demanded submission from these smaller leopards. The need to control territory has been noted on more than one occasion and the bigger the area, the greater the number of other leopards involved and the more regularly it should be that a territory is patrolled and marked. So important is this for the Rock Drift Male that at one time during November, he was seen to abandon approximately 20% of the caracss of an adult female Nyala in a tree so that he could wander off and circle his domain.

DECEMBER 2000
 
Location: SOUTHCENTRAL MALA MALA/ CENTRAL & W FLOCKFIELD/ WESTERN CHARLESTON (east of the river)
 
(11 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male continued to function with the efficiency and hard work which has now come to be expected of him. At the beginning of this game report period he and the Newington Female completed the mating which began as the previous report was being written. The get-togethers of these two leopards appeared to attract quite a bit of attention. This month they were being observed by the year-old daughter of the Kapen Female, but she appeared quite alarmed by the presence of the two and soon left the scene. A day or so prior to this and mentioned in last months report, the mating of the two was being watched by one of the sons of the paradise Valley Female, this before a male lion scattered all three leopards. At the end of the month, the Rock Drift Male was again mating, this time with the old Chellahanga Female. Given her mating record over the last year and a half, it is not expected that she will fall pregnant. Other than these two matings, the Rock Drift Male was seen to do the regular patrols of his borders, sustaining the large energy requirements with kills as he went. Regarding territory marking, the Rock Drift Male was seen to move more east and north of the area he has customarily been patrolling, and marking these areas with great thoroughness. These 'new' areas would then push somewhat into the area thought to be controlled by the male leopard so fond of killing warthogs and with which the Rock Drift Male has interacted in the past. The northerly movements this month of the Rock Drift Male would also push more into the southerly limits of the large male leopard which mated with the Mlowathi Female and Ngoboswan Female, the same male which was probably the past mate of the Newington Female. These areas also represent what could be regarded as core territory for the White Cloth Female and her movement of cubs to the east may have been the reason for the Rock Drift Male also following; the heavy patrolling of the area would probably discourage other male leopards from entering the area and perhaps killing her cubs. The behaviour of both the Rock Drift Male and White Cloth Female over the past few months has suggested more and more that he is the father of her current litter.

All Credits Goes To Mala Mala
One day's life of a lion is preferable to hundred years of a jackal "Tipu Sultan"
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#52

Legendary Rock Drift Male (Tjololo)

*This image is copyright of its original author


2001

JANUARY 2001
 
Location: ROCK DRIFT MALE FLOCKFIELD/ CHARLESTON (east of the river)/ NW TOULON (east of the river)
 
(10 sightings)
The sightings of the Rock Drift Male this month did not contain the excitement and variation which have come to be expected of this leopard over the last few years. However, there are only so many females with which he can mate and even a leopard as dominant as this one cannot always be fighting others. Also, of course, activities happen when he is alone and away from viewing vehicles and these we cannot begin to know about. This was demonstrated this month when he was found sporting a large wound on his right flank. A large piece of skin had been torn away and the combination of red underlying flesh and gold surrounding coat made the wound look worse than it actually was. Towards months end it was already showing signs of closing up; no doubt to leave another scar for his already great collection. But just what would have caused it can only be guessed at - a lion, a hyaena, another leopard, a warthogs tusk? On this occasion when he was found the Rock Drift Male was far to the north of his territory, in the vicinity of the Kapen River and making a major effort to mark the area, coating the bushes and rocks with his urine and other bodily smells. Just that morning there were tracks found in the area which indicated that the White Cloth Female had moved her cubs and it may have been this which the male leopard was so concerned about. It is believed that the Rock Drift Male is indeed the father of the White Cloth Females' cubs and one of the important things for him is to keep up a strong presence around where they are kept, this in order to dispersuade other male leopards from entering the area and threatening the youngsters.

FEBRUARY 2001
 
Location: FLOCKFIELD/ CHARLESTON (east of the river)/ N TOULON (north of the river)
 
(10 sightings)
With an apparent lack of females to mate with, the Rock Drift Male spent much time this month taking care of his borders and looking after family matters within them and also taking the odd risk whilst out patrolling. In terms of territory marking, the Rock Drift Male was seen to go further east and north than has been his usual pattern. As has become expected of this large male leopard, the Rock Drift Males behaviour this month emphasised his fatherly nature, this time the cubs receiving his attentions being the youngsters of the White Cloth Female. On the first occasion when the young cubs were seen in close proximity to the Rock Drift Male, their mother had just led them from what might have been their first meal of meat, this a duiker which she had killed. Whilst it could be expected that a male leopard would steal such a kill, the Rock Drift Male was not seen to even attempt this, leaving all food for his youngsters. Such paternal behaviour has been seen on more than one other occasion with the Rock Drift Male. On the second sighting of both the Rock Drift Male and the cubs of the White Cloth Female, the youngsters were led by their mother to a large rock where the male was lying. His interaction with the youngsters was a combination of pride, playfulness and curiosity - again behaviour perhaps not to be expected of adult male leopards. Such dedication could well be the secret for success if success is measured in terms of the number of youngsters which make it to independence. However, if the Rock Drift Male is to stay around to look after his offspring, then he needs to be cautious and such behaviour he did not display earlier in the month when a young calf within the large herd of buffalo caught his attention. This leopard has been recorded as having caught a young buffalo before, but this would require skill and no small degree of courage. As it was, the buffalo had the leopard scrambling up a tree to seek safety. After a while he gave up. On another occasion whilst out on patrol, the Rock Drift Male nearly walked straight into the sleeping lions of the Windmill Pride.

MARCH 2001
 
Location: FLOCKFIELD/ CHARLESTON (east of the river)/ N TOULON (north of the river)
 
(7 Sightings)
The Rock Drift Male continued to patrol the area which he controls and nothing extra-ordinary was noted, except perhaps that there were at least two sightings of another adult male leopard (it may have been of a different leopard at each sighting) in the southern-most portions of his territory. There is some indication that two male leopards may be competing for the area south of the Rock Drift Males' territory and this may cause one of them to move away. At the same time, the Rock Drift Male seems to be moving further north than he has in the past, perhaps due to the disappearance of the male leopard which usually controls this area, this latter leopard being his old foe the 'warthog killer'. Should he perhaps be concentrating more on the most northerly area, another male looking for a territory may well think it ripe for the taking. However, the Rock Drift Male still has all the signs of strength and confidence and with the females in his territory settled with cubs, he can concentrate upon ensuring the integrity of his territory instead of mating. As has come to be expected of the Rock Drift Male, he was seen to continue checking up on his offspring, this month being found with his daughter, the 16 month-old cub of the Kapen Female. The Kapen Female herself was apparently not around and the two leopards were quite comfortable with each other. As they went their separate ways, the Rock Drift Male was heard roaring loudly, a warning to other male leopards perhaps and a sign of his confidence in looking after what is his.

APRIL 2001
 
Location: STH CENTRAL MALA MALA/ CENTRAL-WST FLOCKFIELD/ NTHN & SW CHARLESTON/ NW TOULON (north of the river)
 
(12 sightings) The most dramatic events involving the Rock Drift Male were of him being found much further north than has thus far been recorded. His movements took him deep into territory thought to have been controlled by the mate of the Mlowathi and Ngoboswan Females and also further east and north into an area which at one stage may have been held by the male leopard which was noted for his warthog-killing capabilities. This latter leopard and the Rock Drift Male have had several fierce battles in the past. The 'warthog-killer' was last seen some 4 months ago. Anyway, from a territorial perspective, the control of this new area would allow the Rock Drift Male to almost completely encompass the territory held by the White Cloth Female. The Rock Drift Male is almost certainly the father of the cubs of the White Cloth Female and, from a survival point of view, it makes more sense if the male has absolute dominance over the area also controlled by one of 'his' females, this to minimise the risk of another male leopard killing the cubs. Last months report suggested that another male leopard might be pressurising the Rock Drift Male in the southerly portions of his territory, but sightings this month failed to note if this was indeed the case. Other than the foregoing, the Rock Drift Male had a most 'normal' month, patrolling territory, killing antelope to give him the energy to service his vast domain and keeping contact with his mates and progeny within this area.

MAY 2001
 
Location: STH CENTRAL MALA MALA/ FLOCKFIELD/ NTHN & CENTRAL CHARLESTON
 
(10 sightings)
Most sightings of the Rock Drift Male were in the northern reaches of his domain. There have now been regular sightings of this leopard to the west of the Matshapiri River which takes him well into the area covered by the White Cloth Female. The Rock Drift Male probably fathered the White Cloth Females' cubs and so greater control of her territory means greater security for these youngsters. There have been no signs of any challenge coming from the male leopard which up until recently was regarded as the dominant leopard of this area. In fact, this other leopard - not named due to his habit of not allowing vehicles to approach him during the daylight hours and so making it really difficult to identify him from any spot pattern - generally appears to be losing his control, and it may be that the Rock Drift Male is able to take firm control with minimal physical interaction.
The northerly expansion of territory appears to have made the Rock Drift Male neglect the very southerly parts of his area and there have been an increasing number of sightings of a young adult male leopard in these parts. However, for the Rock Drift Male these southerly areas may well be worth discarding since the only female here would be the old Chellahanga Female and, in spite of many matings, she has failed to conceive. The Rock Drift Male may simply look at the area as being expendable and continue to concentrate on more profitable parts. However, if one of the Rock Drift Males' neighbours is waning in power, it is highly likely that other male leopards will also sense this and try to make a move on the area.
In the beginning of May the Rock Drift Male was seen pacing side by side with another male leopard, this on the ridge between the Kapen and Matshapiri Rivers and close to the Kruger National Park boundary. The two were clearly sizing each other up. Also, in some of the more northerly parts of his range and close to the central regions of the Matshapiri River, there have been several sightings of a young but nervous male leopard, this disposition indicating that he has probably come into the area form somewhere far-afield in search of territory. So although things currently look reasonably comfortable for the Rock Drift Male, the battle has not yet been won, and even when it appears to have been, there will always be challengers waiting for the right moment. Aside from such issues of regional integrity which the Rock Drift Male had to deal with during May, he continued to provide good viewing performing more day-to-day tasks such as hunting. On one occasion he was seen killing an impala and hoisting it up a tree.

June 2001
 
Location: STH CENTRAL MALA MALA/ FLOCKFIELD/ S CHARLESTON
 
(9 sightings)
Sightings of the Rock Drift Male this month again indicated that he perhaps concentrated more on the northern parts of his territory than on the southern areas. As has almost become expected of this leopard, there was some fine viewing involving the Rock Drift Male this month. Towards the beginning of June, whilst watching two hyaenas eating the rotting remains of an adult warthog, the Rock Drift Male arrived on the scene. The hyaenas immediately noticed the leopard and both parties simply kept their distance. Suddenly, however, with a series of loud and aggressive-sounding grunts and a bounding gait, the leopard rushed the hyaenas. This was too much for them and they dropped the carcass and fled. The Rock Drift Male picked up the fallen prize and ran towards a distant tree (this all took place in a large open area). After a few seconds, however, the hyaenas realised that they had been conned. There was simply no ways that a leopard could frighten them off and they turned and charged back. The Rock Drift Male realised that they had called his bluff and that he was never going to make it to the tree with the carcass, so he dropped it and retreated. That was really the only chance he had. Later, when one of the hyaenas had wandered off a distance with a warthog leg and the other was worrying the carcass on its own, the Rock Drift Male crept back and tried to intimidate this lone hyaena from its meal. But not only was this hyaena not particularly concerned, but the sounds brought the other one running back and again the leopard had to give ground. And that is how things were left - the hyaenas with their warthog and the leopard hovering in the background. Just how the warthog had died is not certain. Perhaps it had been killed by the hyaenas (hyaenas have been seen attacking and killing warthogs here before and so could have developed a strategy for them) or a leopard. Interestingly, the area in which the interaction occurred was at one stage thought to be controlled by one of the Rock Drift Males' old adversaries, the big male leopard so often seen killing warthogs - or with warthog kills - and, coincidentally, a week before this interaction, this same leopard was seen only a few kilometres further north of this, the first time he had been encountered in approximately half a year. Another good series of sightings involving the Rock Drift Male started with him killing a young male impala and immediately taking it into a large Scotia tree along the banks of the Matshapiri River. Not pleased with the tree, he then proceeded to take it up and down until he was satisfied. The next morning, however, whilst he was feeding on the kill on the ground, the Eyrefield Pride lionesses and cubs arrived and rushed in to steal the meat. But the leopard was too quick and carried the kill into the very top branches of the largest Scotia tree in the area, way beyond the reach of any lion. Nonetheless, the lions did climb into the lower branches of the tree and managed to eat a few scraps still on the ground. The leopard had to stay in the tree of over an hour before most of the lions wandered off, allowing him to descend in safety. One lioness did venture back and chased the leopard off again, but then had to finally concede defeat and retreated empty handed.

July 2001
 
Location: SW MALA MALA/ FLOCKFIELD/ CHARLESTON
 
(8 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male seemed energised this month; not that he has been slacking, just that much of his activities over the last few months have suggested something of a routine. Towards the middle of the month the Rock Drift Male spent several days at the very south of his territory, an area which he has perhaps neglected over the previous months and where other male leopards have been making inroads. Whether or not any territorial agreements were reinforced during this time is not known, but the effort from the Rock Drift Male was certainly there.
 
 A few days after this southerly foray, the Rock Drift Male was back in the north again, travelling many kilometres in a single day and was seen crossing to the western bank of the Sand River for the first time. This would have taken him into part of the last remaining area thought to still be controlled by one of his old adversaries, the male with the short tail which has already relinquished the middle and lower reaches of the Matshapiri River to the irrepressible energy of the Rock Drift Male.
 
The Rock Drift Male was seen three times with female leopards this month and on each occasion it could (it certainly was on the last sighting) have been the Kapen Female. Towards the beginning of the month the pair was definitely mating and finally moved into the Kruger National Park. On the second occasion when the Rock Drift Male was seen with a female leopard, the two were sharing a bushbuck kill. The carcass was high up in a Natal Mahogany Tree and the dense foliage prevented good views of the female and every time she descended, she would slink off into the reeds of the nearby Sand River. Just the way in which she behaved and the area in which the kill had been made, suggested that the female was the Kapen Female. On the third instance when the Rock Drift Male was with a female leopard, it was quite certain that it was the Kapen Female. Both leopards were well fed and had probably just finished sharing a kill. But the reason for them being together was quite obvious - the Kapen Female wanted to mate and was not hiding the fact. The Rock Drift Male, however, was most reluctant to perform and no matter how blatantly the Kapen Female solicited, she was met only with snarls and the male walking away. Unfortunately the pair disappeared into thick bush and was not relocated later on, but it is almost certain that mating did take place.

August 2001
 
Location: CENTRAL-WEST MALA MALA/ CENTRAL-WEST FLOCKFIELD
 
(10 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male continued to concentrate on the northern parts of his territory this month, seeming to ignore the other male leopards moving into the areas he used to control in the south of the reserve. With the Kapen Female and another leopard (the Shaws Female?) now perhaps being courted by another male and moving into this area respectively, he may of course decide to reclaim them. Time will tell. As the large old male from the North-West of the reserve loses his grip on things, so the Rock Drift Male appears to be using the western bank of the Sand River more frequently. This month he was seen stealing an impala kill from one of the daughters of the Ngoboswan Female. Interestingly, as he moves north and other male leopards work his southern areas more frequently, so one of his sons, the 'cub of the Paradise Valley Female' has followed him. In the past the Rock Drift Male has treated this young male with what may be interpreted as fondness and as the other males no doubt treat him more harshly in the south, so it could be expected that he would move to the easier areas. But for how long this will last waits to be seen. This month the Rock Drift Male was seen to become quite agitated when he smelled the presence of this young male around a waterhole. Perhaps the Rock Drift Male will start to view his son as a threat as the youngster matures. But the dominance of the Rock Drift Male cannot last. He has certainly had a good run and sired many youngsters, but things will not always go his way. Already perhaps other leopards are testing him more strongly. Fairly early in the month he was found with some nasty bite-marks on the left-hand side of his face and this only days after one of his old adversaries, the 'warthog-killing male' had been in the area. By months end the wounds had still not healed and although the Rock Drift Male did not appear irritated by them, they did not look good. The 'warthog-killing' male leopard had also just triumphed over the Tlebe Rocks Male, another neighbour to the Rock Drift Male. So perhaps as he gains in confidence he will return the beatings meted out by the Rock Drift Male months before. But so far the Rock Drift Male remains fit and his wounds will surely heal. The longer he stays in charge of course, the better will be the chances for his offspring to make it to maturity.

September 2001
 
Location: SOUTH-WEST MALA MALA/ CENTRAL-WEST FLOCKFIELD/ CENTRAL & NW CHARLESTON
 
(17 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male continued to provide fine viewing this month, his movements dispelling prior indications that he was not paying as much attention to the southerly parts of his range as was the case a year or so ago. Just where the Rock Drift Male gets his energy from is not known, but he has it and patrols with incredible vigour. Towards the end of September he was seen to move from the very northerly parts of his territory to the southern areas in less than 24 hours, this movement no doubt not in a straight line. As has been so often the case in the recent past, the Rock Drift Male contributed significantly to the leopard action seen this month. In the beginning of September he was seen killing an adult female  impala and taking the carcass up a tall Marula Tree. Over the ensuing couple of days as he fed upon the kill, several hyaenas accumulated and were seen waiting patiently below the tree. Scraps may have fallen their way, but they received nothing substantial. On the last night when he fed from the kill, footprints indicated that some male lions arrived to see if they too could partake in the feast. Evidently the kill had been too well secured and they passed on by, leaving the Rock Drift Male to finish it and move on.
 
On another occasion he was seen killing an adult male impala. The terrible-looking bite-wounds which were inflicted upon his face towards beginning of August, perhaps in a territorial conflict with another male leopard, were at long last showing signs of healing. One interesting event involving the Rock Drift Male which probably happens far more often than is thought of, was a meeting with a Black Mamba, a snake which legends have already been made of. The Rock Drift Male was fast asleep in a tree when one of these deadly snakes came gliding along the branch towards him. When the snake was only centimetres off, if sensed the leopard and halted. The leopard was completely unaware and the snake, after considering what was happening, turned around and moved off. But what would have happened if the leopard had lifted its head when the snake was so close? Would the reptile have taken fright and lashed out at the leopard?

October 2001
 
Location: SOUTH-WEST MALA MALA/ CENTRAL-WEST FLOCKFIELD/ CENTRAL & NW CHARLESTON
 
(9 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male continued to give good viewing and this month was seen patrolling territory and making kills - giving him the energy to continue with the protection of his domain. At one of the kills - an adult female impala which kept him eating for three days or so - he was no more than a few hundred meters from another male leopard which in turn was feeding on an adult female bushbuck carcass. This took place at what is considered to be the very southern tip of his territory and it is not known if either leopard was even aware of the other. Anyway, tracks indicated that the 'other' male went south and the Rock Drift Male, when he had completed his meal some days later, moved in the opposite direction.

November 2001
 
Location: SOUTHERN MALA MALA/ FLOCKFIELD/ NW CHARLESTON (east of the Sand River)
 
(8 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male had an interesting month, starting off with an interaction with a female cheetah and her three cubs. The leopard was sleeping on a termite mound when he saw the cheetahs approaching him and immediately headed towards them. All predators are essentially enemies with one another - in this case it is easy to understand; the impala which the cheetah eats means one less for the leopard and so competition is quite direct. Anyway, the adult cheetah saw the leopard approach, but instead of running away, ran at her adversary, giving her cubs time to escape. At the end of the confrontation, the Rock Drift Male backed down when he saw that he wasn't going to catch any of the cheetahs and that evening he was several kilometres away, stalking impala under a full moon, something only a really hopeful leopard would contemplate. The other highlight of the month as far as viewing of the Rock Drift Male went was a sight of him mating with a nervous female leopard. The mating pair was found on the move and outside the female leopards' territory. Her disposition indicated that she could well have resided inside the Kruger National Park or on eastern Charleston, the area which used to be controlled by the Paradise Valley Female. When a female leopard comes into oestrus and seeks out a mate, it is usually the male which has a territory overlapping hers which responds. But this is not always the case and sometimes a female leopard will mate with a male which later has no control over her territory, the female moving back to her area once the mating is over. And this may have been the case here. The pair was seen together for two days. All indications are that the Rock Drift Male remains a virile and most dominant leopard.

December 2001
 
Location: CENTRAL W MALA MALA/ W FLOCKFIELD/ CENTRAL W CHARLESTON (east of the Sand River)
 
 (10 sightings)
There were good sightings of the Rock Drift Male this month, two of these of him together with two of the females which have territories inside his. At the one sighting he was seen appropriating a freshly killed baby impala from the Kapen Female and at the next he was seen interacting in a most fatherly manner with the White Cloth Female (sister of the Kapen Female) and her two cubs. The Rock Drift Male has a history of being fond of his offspring. The day prior to this last sighting, the Rock Drift Male was found with the carcass of a baby Wildebeest. The White Cloth Female and her cubs were not far from where this kill had been stashed and it is not unconceivable that they later shared it with him. Interestingly though, on another occasion later on in the month when the White Cloth Female was walking with her cubs (perhaps to a kill) and the Rock Drift Male was approaching from the other direction and along the same road, the leopards seemed to purposely avoid each other. When the two approaching parties were less than 100 meters apart, they deliberately moved in opposite directions off the road, bypassing one another and then rejoining the road. The Rock Drift Male and the White Cloth Female were both heard calling to one another once they had gone their separate ways and the cubs in particular were most interested in the areas which the Rock Drift Male had recently scent-marked. Aside from these moments, the Rock Drift Male continued with life as he probably mostly knows it - patrolling and hunting, the latter ensured by the former and of course needed to get the energy to patrol!

All Credits Goes To Mala Mala
One day's life of a lion is preferable to hundred years of a jackal "Tipu Sultan"
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Pakistan fursan syed Offline
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#53

Legendary Rock Drift Male (Tjololo)



*This image is copyright of its original author

2002

January 2002
 
Location: MALE MALA MALA/ W FLOCKFIELD/ NW CHARLESTON (east of the Sand River)
 
(9 sightings)
Sightings of the Rock Drift Male indicated that he spent January much like many other months of his life - patrolling territory and hunting. Quite unusually for this large male leopard, he was seen to spend four days in succession towards the northeastern parts of his territory where he had killed an adult male impala. Such a carcass could of course be expected to last a fair amount of time, but in his early days, it was not uncommon for the Rock Drift Male to feed, leave the kill to patrol and then return to carry on eating. Perhaps there is really no threat for him at the moment and things in his life seem very settled so that there is not the urgency to patrol. At another sighting the Rock Drift Male was seen further north along the Matshapiri River than he has ever been seen before. This trip took him into an area thought to be well inside the territory controlled by the Tlebe Rocks Male. One of the female leopards under the Rock Drift Males' influence, the White Cloth Female, certainly goes this way from time to time, so perhaps he was simply following her familiar scent. But by and large not much appears to have changed for the Rock Drift Male and he seems well entrenched and not yet in any danger of being deposed in the near future.

February 2002
 
Location: north & east of the Sand River
 
(5 sightings)
There were not many encounters with the Rock Drift Male this month, but he was seen on both the northern and southern extremes of his territory, this perhaps 15 or more kilometres from end to end.

March 2002
 
Location: MALA MALA/ FLOCKFIELD/ CHARLESTON (north & east of the Sand River)
 
(3 sightings)
There were surprisingly few sightings of the Rock Drift Male during March, but what encounters there were suggested that he is still effectively covering the ends of his vast territory.

April 2002
 
Location: CENTRAL FLOCKFIELD/ CENTRAL CHARLESTON (north & east of the Sand River)
 
(5 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male was encountered more to the south of his range this month, possibly because the White Cloth Female seems to have relocated to these areas. Not that he would necessarily have abandoned the northern parts of his territory, but may well be concentrating more in the areas where 'his' females were active. The last sighting of the Rock Drift Male in April was of him together with a female leopard, possibly the White Cloth Female. Although the female leopard seemed eager to mate, the Rock Drift Male was not keen. As the two leopards moved along, they approached an area where the cubs of the White Cloth Female (his cubs too) were waiting. At another sighting of the Rock Drift Male, he was seen with one of his older daughters, the 2-and-a-half year old daughter of the Kapen Female. The young female was finishing off the remains of an impala and her father was resting close by. Both leopards were last seen wandering off into a nearby gully system. Perhaps the most dramatic sighting of the Rock Drift Male during this game report period was of him hunting down and killing an adult male duiker. Rain was pelting down and the Rock Drift Male was taking full advantage of the confusion brought on by the elements. The small antelope probably never knew what hit it when the Rock Drift Male pounced.

May 2002
 
Location: CENTRAL & W MALA MALA/ W FLOCKFIELD/ CENTRAL & W CHARLESTON (north & east of the Sand River)
 
(12 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male delivered some fine viewing this month, appearing as in control of his territory as he has ever been - a period of probably close to 4 years now for the southern areas where he first appeared before heading further north. During May the Rock Drift Male seemed to perhaps spend slightly more time in the northern parts of his range, this perhaps because the White Cloth Female and her two cubs moved back to their old haunts around the lower reaches of the Matshapiri River. He was seen with these leopards on at least two occasions. In the one encounter, the son and daughter of the White Cloth Female (almost certainly his offspring too) were seen approaching him cautiously, but all behaviour illustrating the highest of respect. The Rock Drift Male seemed satisfied with the display of deference.
 
The first sighting of the Rock Drift Male for this May game-report-period was of him and an unknown female leopard at a duiker kill. Last months report ended with him being in the company of perhaps this female leopard. At the time the female was flirting with the Rock Drift Male but receiving no reciprocation. But this was almost certainly early days in the courtship and the two probably then spent several days mating. The identity of the female was never established, but it is not unknown for a female leopard to leave her territory to seek out a strong male with which she could mate, particularly if the male usually dominant over her is not around when she comes into season.
 
A week or so later, the Rock Drift Male was back in this southern part of his territory and spent several days on an adult male impala kill. At one time his southerly neighbour, the Hlarulini Male was located only a few hundred meters to his south, but the two were not seen to confront one another, something unnecessary so long as each was content that territorial boundaries were not being violated. So all in all probably a most satisfactory month for the Rock Drift Male.

June 2002
 
Location: SW MALA MALA/ W FLOCKFIELD/ W CHARLESTON (east of the Sand River)
 
(8 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male continued to more or less maintain his dominance this month. Some trouble may be brewing in the north, with the young Newington Male wandering into territory along the Matshapiri River (which for the last year-and-a-half or so has been patrolled by the Rock Drift Male). Also in the north, the Rock Drift Male found one of his old adversaries and probably father of the Newington Male, the leopard with the shorter-than-average-tail, scent-marking over the area where he had just been patrolling. But if his strength has been called into question, an interaction with another young adult male leopard on his western boundary would surely have dispelled some of these thoughts. The young male in question was noticed in the area on several occasions this month before he and the Rock Drift Male were seen interacting and he may well have been present as a result of the possible disappearance of the Beaumonts Male, the male leopard which occupies the western bank of the Sand River west of this particular area controlled by the Rock Drift Male. This young leopard was in the area and seemingly making himself at home - killing antelope and bullying female leopards. When the Rock Drift Male chanced upon him, the initial reaction could hardly have appeared quieter, but the message was as clear as could be. At first it appeared as if the Rock Drift Male was simply going to pass the other leopard by, accepting his presence. But the other leopard knew what was coming. The Rock Drift Male was clearly unimpressed with this insignificant intruder and his apparently "could-not-be-bothered" attitude was in itself a message which conveyed his fury. The other leopard crouched on the ground in an attitude of submission and when the Rock Drift Male came storming back at him, he shot up a tall tree where he scrambled to a high branch and lay there, his body language again exuding deference. The Rock Drift Male continued to patrol the surrounds of the tree, making things quite clear to the upstart just what he thought of him. When the other leopard eventually clambered down the tree, the Rock Drift Male again came after him, forcing him to scramble up a smaller tree. And so this went on for a few hours, the Rock Drift Male humbling the other. Little, if any, actual physical contact occurred, but the message was delivered. So although some of the Rock Drift Males' territory may be eroding in the north, in other areas it still looks solid.

July 2002
 
Location: FLOCKFIELD/ CENTRAL-WESTERN CHARLESTON (east of the Sand River)
 
(5 sightings)
The sightings of the Rock Drift Male leopard provided no great excitement this month. As is so often the case, the Rock Drift Male was seen mostly going about those things so fundamental in a territorial male leopards' life - patrolling territory and checking up on the females within and their cubs. It waits to be seen how the Rock Drift Male will respond to the Newington Males' incursion around the Matshapiri River, an area considered to be the northeastern part of his territory.

August 2002
 
Location: SW MALA MALA/ W FLOCKFIELD/ CENTRAL-WESTERN & SE CHARLESTON (east of the Sand River)/ NORTHERN TOULON (north of the Sand River)
 
(15 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male had a rather interesting month. Aside from the regular territorial patrols which are so important for maintaining dominance, he was seen to interact with several other leopards, starting the month with one of his daughter, the nearly three-year-old 'daughter of the Kapen Female'. The two leopards were found together, finishing off the remains of an impala kill. The female probably had the kill in a tree and when the male arrived on the scene. When the female left the tree and wandered off, the Rock Drift Male ascended and started to feed. A few minutes later, the daughter of the Kapen Female, still moving away from the Rock Drift Male, stumbled upon a duiker and killed it. The Rock Drift Male heard the antelopes distress calls and immediately ran towards them. When he reached the female which was still strangling the duiker, he took it and dragged it some distance away towards the base of a large Jackalberry Tree. The young female leopard was reluctant to relinquish this meal and followed the Rock Drift Male. The two leopards then stayed in the area for the next 24 hours, feeding from the kill, the male leopard dominating.
 
The next time the Rock Drift Male was seen with another leopard was when he was mating with the female leopard which seems to have set up a territory near the central-north of Mala Mala to the west of the Sand River, a section of land which includes Harrys Camp. The two were seen mating over a three day period, both leopards moving far south in the reserve. It is not uncommon for a female leopard to leave her own territory when in season and looking for a male leopard. The Rock Drift Male leopard is known to move onto the western bank of the Sand River and this movement would cover at least some part of this female leopards' territory.
 
The next interaction witnessed was when the Rock Drift Male heard a pack of Wild Dogs feeding on a bushbuck kill near the Mala Mala Bridge. When the leopard came to investigate, the Wild Dogs initially chased him away and up a tree. However, the leopard descended and this time managed to take the kill from the pack of Wild Dogs and secured it up a tree. But the fracas had attracted the attentions of yet another leopard, this time one of the Rock Drift Males old adversaries, the male leopard with the shorter than average tail. After being harassed by the Wild Dogs for a while - which he encountered whilst the latter were leaving the Rock Drift Male in the tree - the leopard with the short tail confronted the Rock Drift Male and, surprisingly, the Rock Drift Male backed down and left the area. All previous interactions between these two leopards have appeared to go the way of the Rock Drift Male, to the extent that the leopard with the short tail has relinquished a fair amount of land to the control of the other.
 
Perhaps this time, because the two leopards met in an area on the very limit of the Rock Drift Males' territory, the other leopard had the psychological advantage, the benefit of being in his 'home town' and this is why the Rock Drift Male moved off.
 
Another piece of excitement for the Rock Drift Male happened one day in August when he was nearly caught by lions. The Rock Drift Male was in the process of following some waterbuck, perhaps in the hopes of discovering a baby which he could catch, when the lions also arrived on the scene, alerted by the waterbucks alarm calls. But when the lions arrived, the leopard vanished.
 
But, in general, the Rock Drift Male seems to have had a good month and apparently remains strongly in charge of his domain.

September 2002
 
Location: SW MALA MALA/ W FLOCKFIELD/ CENTRAL-WESTERN & SE CHARLESTON
(east of the Sand River)
 
(13 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male seemed to have a busy September, roaming his vast territory, killing successfully and of course making sure that he remained in charge.
 
Perhaps one of the finest series of sightings of the Rock Drift Male this month took place around an adult male warthog which he had killed and then taken up a rocky hill. The leopard had hardly begun to eat from this substantial kill when he was discovered with it. Unfortunately for the Rock Drift Male, the kill was not really secure from hyenas and one soon arrived on the scene and appropriated it from him. However, the next day it was discovered that the Rock Drift Male had managed to wrestle back most of the warthog carcass and had taken it up into a spindly tree where he proceeded to feed on it over the next two days. At least five hyenas were waiting around the tree whilst he fed.
 
Then, at the end of the month, the Rock Drift Male was seen meeting up with one of the female leopards inside his territory, the White Cloth Female, and stealing a duiker kill which she had just made. When the Rock Drift Male chanced upon this meal, the daughter of the White Cloth Female was also around and also trying to cadge some food. But, the superior size of the male leopard dominated and in the end neither female had any of the kill.
 
But, other than these day-to-day events in the life of a leopard, the Rock Drift Male was seen to do nothing extraordinary and continued to rule the central-south of Mala Mala.

October 2002
 
Location: SW & CENTRAL MALA MALA/ CENTRAL & W FLOCKFIELD/ CENTRAL-WESTERN & SE CHARLESTON
 
(20 sightings)
 
 
 
The Rock Drift Male had a busy month and supplied some fine viewing. He was seen making at least three impala kills, all of which took several days to complete. The first of the kills, an adult female impala, was taken to the top of a large Marula Tree and the leopard spent three days in the area. Several hyenas arrived on the scene and provided good entertainment as they bickered over the scraps which fell from the tree. The last kill, again an adult female impala, was also taken into a Marula Tree and fed upon for several days. When the kill was nearly finished, the Jakkalsdraai Female (daughter of the Kapen Female and Rock Drift Male), arrived on the scene when the Rock Drift Male was away quenching his thirst at a nearby waterhole. The Jakkalsdraai Female could not have found a better meal; at the time she was lean and limping from some or other injury to one of her front legs. By the time the Rock Drift Male returned from the waterhole, the Jakkalsdraai Female had eaten her fill and was descending from the tree. The Rock Drift Male snarled at her briefly, this probably more to effect subservience than a sign of anger, and then climbed the tree himself to finish the meal and drop the last of the scraps to a waiting hyena.
 
But the Rock Drift Male was not all generosity this month. He arrived at a bushbuck kill which the Kapen Female had made and was sharing with her one-year-old cub. Once the Rock Drift Male arrived, there was significantly less food for the others.
 
 
 
One other fine sighting involving the Rock Drift Male had him stalking up to the large herd of buffaloes. Perhaps he was checking to see if there were any new calves to be had - otherwise he was wasting his time with these large creatures. The end of his observation of the herd came when an old and emaciated buffalo cow saw him and chased him away.
 
But, in general, probably a good month for the Rock Drift Male.

November 2002
 
Location: SW MALA MALA/ CENTRAL & W FLOCKFIELD/ CHARLESTON (east of the Sand River)
 
 
 
(18 sightings) The Rock Drift Male seems to have had another good month and showed absolutely no chinks in his hold on his vast territory. Sightings this month seemed to indicate that the Rock Drift Male spent proportionately more time in the southern regions of his domain. Nevertheless, he certainly seemed to patrol most of his peripheries and this with great vigour.
 
The Rock Drift Male was seen making several kills during the course of the month, most of these small antelope such as Duikers or young bushbucks. One of the kills which he was found with, an adult female impala, had been taken up a tree and the leopard was eating it at his leisure, when, on the second day, two male lions came along. The Rock Drift Male abandoned the kill in the tree and ran off, leaving the lions to scramble up the tree and steal the remains.
 
Towards the end of this game-report-period, the Rock Drift Male was found at the scene of an impala kill, together with one of the female leopards which lives within his territory, the Kapen Female, as well as a third leopard, the two-year-old daughter of the White Cloth Female. The White Cloth Female is the sister of the Kapen Female and her daughter was almost certainly fathered by the Rock Drift Male. Mild hostility was evident amongst all three leopards, but the Rock Drift Male seemed more intent on the meat than anything else. Needless to say, he dominated over the smaller females.

December 2002
 
Location: SW MALA MALA/ CENTRAL & W FLOCKFIELD/ CHARLESTON (east of the Sand River)
 
(16 sightings)
 
 
 
Most sightings of the Rock Drift Male over this game-report period occurred towards the northern parts of his territory. Although this leopard still patrols over most of his territory, signs of him perhaps weakening are appearing.
 
Towards the central-south of his territory, the male leopard which was seen in this area last month on a freshly killed near-adult male kudu, was still around and at one stage almost appeared to be shadowing the Rock Drift Male. But the two males were never seen to meet and no signs suggested that they clashed. But what was this other male doing in the Rock Drift Males' territory in the first place? If the Rock Drift Male was prospering and the standard leopard signs of strength were overwhelming, another socially maturing leopard would not want to test him.
 
To the north of the reserve there are also similar signs that the Rock Drift Male is finding it difficult to maintain the hold on his vast domain. One of his old adversaries, the male with the shorter-than-average tail, was seen exploring the peripheries of his territory, entering areas which he used to control prior to the Rock Drift Male forcing him back. And to the northeast, up the Matshapiri River, the young Newington Male appears to be on the march too. Also, the White Cloth Female, one of the female leopards which for some years was within the Rock Drift Males' 'stable', has shown signs of moving more north and east, out of the Rock Drift Males' area and into that controlled by the Newington Male. Has this female leopard, which is probably searching for a mating opportunity, sensed a decline in the Rock Drift Males' power?
 
But aside from the gloomy prognosis of the inevitable, the Rock Drift Male continued to deliver fine viewing this month. One of the sightings which portrayed the Rock Drift Male as he has so often been seen, was when he was found with the carcass of an adult impala and one of his many progeny, the 26-month-old and recently independent daughter of the White Cloth Female, appeared on the scene. As with all young leopards at this stage of their existence, it is quite likely that she would still be struggling somewhat in her quest for food and a free meal would always be welcome. And instead of chasing her off as a male leopard could be expected to do, the Rock Drift Male seemed only too happy to let her feed.
 
So although things are certainly not as rosy for the Rock Drift Male as they could be, he is still around and more or less still in charge. Perhaps another will suddenly oust him or perhaps he will slowly give up on parts of his turf, concentrating instead on a smaller more easily controlled area before finally succumbing to what in the end must happen.

All Credits Goes To Mala Mala
One day's life of a lion is preferable to hundred years of a jackal "Tipu Sultan"
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Legendary Rock Drift Male (Tjololo)



*This image is copyright of its original author
2003

January 2003
 
Location: SW MALA MALA/ FLOCKFIELD/ CHARLESTON (east of the Sand River & not SW & EASTERN)
 
(12 sightings)
 
 
 
The Rock Drift Male was not seen to do anything terribly exciting this month and his efforts appeared mostly centred on patrolling territory. So far the Rock Drift Male does not seem to have confronted the male leopard which is spending large amounts of time on central and western Charleston, east of the Sand River; this is the same young male which killed the nearly adult male kudu some months ago in this same area, which happens to be prime Rock Drift Male territory. One wonders just why the Rock Drift Male has not attempted to run this leopard out of the area. Is it perhaps because this leopard appears to be concentrating his efforts in areas occupied by the Jakkalsdraai Female, the daughter of the Rock Drift Male? Perhaps there is something instinctive in the Rock Drift Male which makes him realise that it may be better for his daughter to fall under the control of another male leopard. Or perhaps the Rock Drift Male is just not as confident as he used to be. After all, he has been around for nearly five years and is almost certainly on the decline.

February 2003
 
Location: SW MALA MALA/ CENTRAL & W FLOCKFIELD/ CHARLESTON (east of the Sand River; not SW & EASTERN)
 
(13 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male appeared to have a rather restful month; certainly he had his upsets, such as when he lost the remains of an adult female impala carcass to hyenas waiting below the tree, but he really did not seem to experience any serious threats to his existence as dominant male in the area. Such threats have of course been speculated about over the last few months.
 
The male leopard which killed the nearly adult male kudu in central Charleston several months ago and which has stayed around, occupying this part of the Rock Drift Males' domain, was still around in the first few weeks of the month, seemingly still tolerated by the Rock Drift Male. But then there were no further sightings of this leopard. Has the Rock Drift Male finally had enough and chased him out?
 
Otherwise, the Rock Drift Male continued to do what he has mostly been doing for several years now - patrolling and killing, the two processes inextricably linked; without territory, efficient killing for food would be difficult and without food, maintenance of any area would be next to impossible.

March 2003
 
Location: CENTRAL & S MALA MALA/  FLOCKFIELD/ CHARLESTON (east of the Sand River; not SW & EASTERN)
 
(10 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male had a good month, or so it seemed, and any ideas that there may have been a takeover bid for his territory, initiated by the male leopard which killed the nearly adult male kudu late last year, seemed to vanish when this same leopard moved north and the Rock Drift Male continued to patrol as if nothing had ever happened.  And it may very well not have happened; the other male leopard may simply have been around to see what could be opportunistically accommodated in his nomadic wanderings.  The Rock Drift Male probably sensed this lack of threat and realised that any form of retaliation would simply have been energy wasted.
 
If anything, the Rock Drift Male was found in areas where he has not been seen for some time now, particularly up the Matshapiri River, a part of his vast empire which a few months ago appeared to have been wrested from him by the Newington Male. So, although the Rock Drift Male has been around for perhaps five years now and at least two of his daughters have territories within his, he still appears to remain most dominant.
 
One of the better sightings of the Rock Drift Male this month occurred towards the southeastern parts of his range when he killed a young male impala and spent a couple of days feeding from it.

April 2003
 
Location: CENTRAL & S MALA MALA/  FLOCKFIELD/ N CHARLESTON
 
(9 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male seemed to have a quiet April, circulating about his area as is expected.  Sightings this month suggested that he spent  more time to the north of his territory and left the southern areas relatively unattended.
May 2003
 
Location: CENTRAL & S MALA MALA/  FLOCKFIELD/ N CHARLESTON
 
 (5 sightings)
Compared with previous months, there were few sightings of the Rock Drift Male during May.  Nevertheless, these encounters suggested that he is still tirelessly roaming his vast territory, checking up on the females, the domains integrity and of course killing enough to give him the energy to keep doing this patrolling.
 
The first sighting of the month found the Rock Drift Male close to the northern limits of his range, near the Matshapiri River, lying in a sheltered gully system.  That evening, an hour or so after he had set out hunting, he bumped into one of his long-time mates, the Kapen Female, also out hunting, but travelling in the opposite direction.  The two leopards sniffed at one another, the male roared twice and both went their separate ways.  With the Kapen Females current daughter fast approaching the time when it is expected that her mother will chase her off, the Rock Drift Male is almost certainly realising that she could come into season again any time soon.  And with the number of seemingly adult yet nomadic male leopards wandering around, he will have to be vigilant to make sure that he is the only one around when this happens.
 
Towards the end of May, the Rock Drift Male was found walking downstream, parallel with the lower parts of the Chellahanga River, this the southern-most part of his range, when he fortuitously surprised a duiker, killing the small antelope and then, before several hyenas, which seemed to appear out of nowhere, could wrest the kill from him, he hauled it up a tree where he could feed on it relatively undisturbed.

June 2003
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
Location: SOUTHERN MALA MALA/  FLOCKFIELD/ CHARLESTON (east of Sand River)
 
(8 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male had an interesting month.  Aside from seeming to remain in absolute power, getting plenty to eat and wandering the length and breadth of his vast territory, he was involved in some fine sightings.  Perhaps the most dramatic was at the very beginning of the June report-period, when he was found with a freshly killed adult warthog in the riverbed of the Sand River, a spot which apparently marks the dividing line between the territories of two female leopards, the Kapen and Dudley Females, both of which have cubs fathered by him.  Both female leopards invited themselves and their youngsters to the kill and the Rock Drift Male probably acted as something of a peacekeeper, minimising the antagonism between the two females.  All of this came to a head when a hyena arrived on the scene, forcing the Rock Drift Male to grab the carcass of the warthog and drag it up into a large Leadwood Tree.  But the placement of the kill proved problematic and at one stage both leopard and warthog went crashing to the ground and the Rock Drift Male had to move swiftly to haul it up the tree once more before the hyena could grab it.  From there the Kapen Female fed and, in attempting to manoeuvre, lost it once more.  This time the hyena grabbed it, but then lost half when the Dudley Female rushed in.  During all of this, which involved quite a bit of hissing, snarling and other posturing amongst the females, with the cubs cowering on the sidelines, the Rock Drift Male stayed away, seemingly content at this stage to let the females sort things out.
 
Later on in the month, the Rock Drift Male helped himself to an impala kill made by one of his daughters, the Jakkalsdraai Female.  Although there were generally unfriendly undertones between these two leopards, they both ate from the kill.  Not far from where this took place and towards the end of the month, another female leopard lost some of a steenbok kill to the Rock Drift Male.  The leopard was a nervous female, probably the one which has a territory to the east of the Jakkalsdraai Female and was feeding on the kill when the Rock Drift Male came along and took over.  When this happened, the female leopard initially fled, but then returned and watched as the male devoured the carcass.
 
At another sighting, the Rock Drift Male was found eating a baby buffalo to the west of the Sand River, opposite the confluence of the Matshapiri and Sand Rivers on western Flockfield.  This area is considered to be under the control of the old male leopard with the shortish tail, but with this particular leopard showing signs of declining strength and no doubt having been tempted by the buffaloes, the Rock Drift Male was prepared to trespass.

July 2003
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
Location: FLOCKFIELD/ CHARLESTON (east of Sand River)
 
 (8 sightings)
 
The Rock Drift Male soldiered on and apparently ended the month looking as strong as ever.  The last sighting of this leopard was towards the end of the July-report-period when he was seen clashing with another male leopard.  The sounds of the two leopards fighting were heard long before they were found and when the two were eventually located, the other male leopard was running away.  Whether he was running from the Rock Drift Male or the approaching vehicles is not certain, but all indications were that the Rock Drift Male won the encounter.  Unfortunately the identity of the other male leopard was never established and it could have been one of several known to the general area or even one simply passing through, a nomad hoping to find a territorial opportunity.
 
The site of the clash was on western Charleston, to the east of the Sand River and perhaps at the very southwest of the Rock Drift Males' vast range.
 
And it was near this exact spot where the first sighting of the Rock Drift Male over this report-period occurred; the leopard was seen stalking and killing a duiker and then taking the small antelope into a tree.  Twenty-four hours later, when a still well-fed Rock Drift Male was leaving the area and making his way northwards, he killed an adult female Nyala when he surprised a group of these bush-wise antelopes as they were moving towards some inland feeding area, away from riverine bush.  This was as opportunistic as a leopard can get and once the carcass had been taken into a Saffron Tree, the leopard ate at his leisure, leaving the area only when he finished two days later.
 
Other than that all else appeared to go well for the Rock Drift Male, at least as indicated by his general body condition and the regularity with which sightings suggested he patrolled the far reaches of his domain.

August 2003
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
Location: STH-CENTRAL EYREFIELD/ MALA MALA/ FLOCKFIELD/ CHARLESTON/ N TOULON (north & east of river)
 
(13 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male started the month by invading the territory of the male leopard with the short tail - he crossed west through the Sand River and, to the northwest of Harry's Camp on NW Flockfield, killed an impala, which was promptly stolen by a hyaena.  This incursion did not last long and goodness knows what the leopard was following up on when he decided to head west. 
 
Then, less than a week later, he was once more in another leopards' territory, this time that of the Newington Males and sniffing around a granite Koppie where his one-time-mate, the White Cloth Female, had recently been hiding her cubs.  Although the Rock Drift Male did not father these cubs (or at least as far as evidence suggests) he still made soft cub-calling noises as he moved amongst the rocks, sniffing intently.  Perhaps he had picked up the White Cloth Females' scent earlier, inside his territory (she still occasionally heads down to drink in the Sand River on SW Mala Mala or NW Flockfield, areas patrolled by the Rock Drift Male) and had then followed, just to check up on an old acquaintance.  Goodness knows what he would have done had he found the cubs, perhaps nothing since the White Cloth Female cannot really be regarded as a 'foreign' leopard to him.  But male leopards have a reputation of killing those youngsters which they did not sire, so probably it was a good thing that the cubs were no longer in the area.After this the month's activities of patrolling and killing seemed more routine for the Rock Drift Male.
 
The one other incident, which was more extraordinary, occurred when he suddenly appeared when the Jakkalsdraai Female, his nearly four-year-old daughter, was hunting impalas on central Flockfield.  The interaction was anything but friendly and the female leopard ran when she saw the male.

September 2003
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
Location:  CENTRAL & SOUTHERN MALA MALA/ FLOCKFIELD/ CENTRAL & SOUTHERN CHARLESTON
 
(13 sightings)
There were some dramatic sightings involving the Rock Drift Male during the September viewing period.  Aside from routine patrolling, he was seen mating with two female leopards, one the Ngoboswan Female and the other one of his daughters, the Jakkalsdraai Female.  The latter mating has almost been expected since the Jakkalsdraai Female has set up territory within the Rock Drift Males' domain and, so far, other male leopards simply have not arrived to do the deed, this in spite of opportunities from both the Jakkalsdraai Female and, it appears, from the Rock Drift Male himself.  Anyway, they were seen mating several times and it needs to be seen if anything comes of it.
 
The mating with the Ngoboswan Female was slightly more interesting since she is not really within the 'stable' of females with which he regularly makes contact.  In fact, the Ngoboswan Female falls under the control of the Short Tail Male, a long-term Rock Drift Male adversary, and, although the Ngoboswan Female was seen mating with the Short Tail Male two weeks earlier, she then sought out the Rock Drift Male, moving beyond her borders as well as those patrolled by the Short Tail Male, to find him and mate with him.  The two were together for perhaps three days.
 
But perhaps one of the most peculiar and saddest sightings involving the Rock Drift Male had to do with the death of one of his sons, the cub of the Dudley Female.  The exact circumstances surrounding the cubs' death will never be completely understood, but indications are that the Rock Drift Male himself killed the young leopard.  When the leopards were first found, the Rock Drift Male and the Dudley Female were in the vicinity of an impala carcass which had been hoisted into a Sausage Tree and it was simply assumed that there would be, with the necessary diplomacy, a sharing of the kill.  After all, this has been witnessed many times and the Rock Drift Male has almost become synonymous with concept of an ideal leopard father, one which quite willingly shares food with 'his' females and offspring.  But this was not the case.  When the Dudley Female climbed the tree to feed after the Rock Drift Male had descended, he could hardly have been more aggressive and chased her off, forcing her to climb to the very top branches of the tree whilst he stood guard over the kill, growling threateningly at her.  And then, twenty or so metres from the tree, in tall grass, movement drew attention to the Dudley Females' cub.  The young leopard was lying nearby, barely alive, with two puncture wounds in his head, these injuries consistent with those one would expect from a savage bite delivered by a powerful predator.
 
The next morning the Rock Drift Male was still in the immediate area of the impala carcass, treating it as he would any other kill.  A couple of hundred meters away, however, the carcass of the Dudley Female's cub had been taken into a large Jackalberry Tree and had been partly fed upon.  Over the next two or three days, the Dudley Female was seen to return and feed from her son until she had eaten it completely.
 
One wonders just what led to the death of the cub; all evidence suggests that the Rock Drift Male killed it.  But why?  That he is the father of the cub is almost without doubt; he and the Dudley Female were seen mating in August last year and a cub was produced after the expected pregnancy following such a mating.  And the two have certainly met up before; there has been at least one sighting where the Rock Drift Male, the Dudley Female and her cub have all been seen together and seemingly content.
 
One thing, though, is that although the Rock Drift Male did mate with the Dudley Female, she does not reside within his domain.  She sought him out, much as the Ngoboswan Female and other female leopards have done in the past, leaving their territories to find a mate.  It is not known just which male leopards' territory encompasses that occupied by the Dudley Female, but it could well be the Short Tail Male, a leopard, which, it seems, is perhaps sterile and although physically very powerful, is incapable of satisfying 'his' females' basic needs.  So, to have a cub, they have to find a suitable partner, but only for mating, and then they need to run the risk of becoming 'alien' to that male if they do not reside within his territory.  Should he suddenly forget which leopards they are, simply because there is not enough contact with them since they live beyond his regularly patrolled borders, he will treat them as he does any other foreigner and, similarly, he will treat their cubs as another males' cubs, animals which could compete with his genetics.
 
It seems that the basic secret to survival for female leopards and their cubs is to have a territorial 'master'.  They need to be familiar with this particular animal, go through the required processes of establishing credentials so that he is satisfied that they are under his control.  And then, if they have his cubs or cubs of another, is not important since he cannot really tell whether they are his or not.  But associating with the territorial male, regularly and with the necessary code of conduct, is a most necessary requirement for the female leopard to ensure her survival and that of her cubs.

October 2003
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
Location: SW MALA MALA/ WESTERN FLOCKFIELD/ CENTRAL & SOUTHERN CHARLESTON
 (12 sightings)
 
The Rock Drift Male had another eventful month, patrolling his territory, mating, and even looking to expand his reach further north and west.  Near the beginning of the month, the Rock Drift Male and Dudley Female were seen moving northwards, the female following the male.  And although no mating was actually witnessed, all behaviour indicated that it was imminent.  What a turn-about of events; last month the Rock Drift Male was probably the killer of the Dudley Females' 10-month-old male cub (his cub too), and now she seeks him out to father her next litter - clinical body behaviour in the extreme.
 
There were several sightings of the Rock Drift Male on the western bank of the Sand River, on NW Flockfield, territory of the Short Tail Male.  The Rock Drift Male was then also seen moving far north, up to a kilometre upstream of the bridge, deep into the Short Tail Males' domain, marking territory as he went.
 
The Rock Drift Male and Short Tail Male have been adversaries for years and their respective powers have ebbed and waned, but generally things seem to have remained reasonably static.  However, now that the Rock Drift Male is mating with female leopards usually under the control of the Short Tail Male (Ngoboswan and Dudley Females) and the Short Tail Male is showing signs of having been beaten up, probably in a fight with another leopard, maybe he is weakening faster than is expected and other male leopards, the Rock Drift Male being one of them, are moving in to take the spoils.
 
Other than the above, the Rock Drift Male continued life as a dominant territorial leopard should do - patrolling regularly and killing the needed amount of prey to sustain this lifestyle.

November 2003
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
Location: W MALA MALA/ WESTERN FLOCKFIELD/ CENTRAL & SOUTHERN CHARLESTON
(10 sightings)
 
The Rock Drift Male had a busy month, not only interacting with some of the females under his influence, but also patrolling the limits of his huge territory and seeking to expand his range too. At the beginning of this report-period, the Rock Drift Male was discovered with three other leopards, all females and these being the Kapen and Dudley Females and the two-year-old daughter of the Kapen Female (the Rock Drift Males' daughter as well).  The Kapen Female had killed an impala the previous evening and this had obviously attracted the attentions of at least some of the other leopards which had arrived to scavenge.  For the Dudley Female, however, she appeared to have sought out the Rock Drift Male for mating purposes and was less interested in eating.  Although there was no physical conflict witnessed amongst the leopards at this gathering, the tension was certainly simmering just beneath the surface.
 
The Rock Drift Male and Dudley Female stayed together and were last seen in one another's company six days later when they were sharing another impala carcass, not far from where they had originally been found.  On this occasion, which must have marked the end of the mating as well, another female leopard approached the pair and sniffed around the area, climbed the tree in which the scraps of the impala were still hanging and investigated further.  The leopard didn't seek to feed on what was left, but seemed more interested in finding out details of what other leopards were around.  Neither the Rock Drift Male nor the Dudley Female challenged this third leopard which could very well have been the Jakkalsdraai Female, a leopard not unexpected in this particular location. The Rock Drift Male and Jakkalsdraai Female were seen together 10 days later when the male leopard arrived to scavenge from the remains of an impala carcass which the Jakkalsdraai Female had been feeding from for a few days.  Little remained of the kill and the Jakkalsdraai Female didn't seem to concerned about the theft - not that she could have done much against the bigger male leopard.
 
Another Rock Drift Male/ female leopard interaction occurred near the lower reaches of the Chellahanga River, when the Rock Drift Male, whilst out hunting and patrolling, bumped into an unidentified female.  The two leopards appeared to know one another and the Rock Drift Male, after approaching the female, simply continued on his way.  The female leopard is thought to be one of somewhat nervous disposition which occupies the territory to the east of the Jakkalsdraai Female and northeast of the Toulon Female.  This area has been included in the Rock Drift Males' territorial patrols for several years now.
 
As far as territory goes, not only was the Rock Drift Male active this month in maintaining his known territorial limits, but also made a major effort to involve himself to the north and west of his existing territory, moving deep into the area which for some years now has been controlled by one of his long-term territorial neighbours and adversaries, the Short Tail Male.  The Short Tail Male is clearly ailing and the Rock Drift Male (and other male leopards) have been exploiting this by making their presence felt in this area, hoping no doubt to claim at least some of the land and whatever females come with it when it finally becomes vacant.  The part explored by the Rock Drift Male is patrolled at least in part by the Ngoboswan Female.  And, since the Rock Drift Male mated with the Ngoboswan Female a couple of months ago, it would probably be to both leopards' interests if the Rock Drift Male could cement his influence in this particular area.

December 2003

ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
Location: W MALA MALA/ WESTERN FLOCKFIELD/ CENTRAL & SOUTHERN CHARLESTON
(7 sightings)
 
Sightings of the Rock Drift Male suggested that he spent much of the month towards the northwestern parts of his territory and beyond, exploring part of the land which up until now has been controlled by the Short Tail Male.  With the Short Tail Male losing power and with some of 'his' females such as the Dudley and Ngoboswan Females having mated with the Rock Drift Male, it makes some sense that the Rock Drift Male seeks to expand his influence in order that they are incorporated into his patrol area.

Should the Rock Drift Male move more north and west, what would happen to the southern parts of his territory?  His daughter, the Jakkalsdraai Female, occupies a fair chunk of this and he has no interests in mating with her, so what value does this land have for him?  Already she has mated with the Hlarulini Male, the leopard which controls the territory to the south and west of that occupied by the Rock Drift Male and already this male is pushing north, perhaps hoping to expand his domain to include the Jakkalsdraai Female into his patrol pattern.  So maybe things are about to change with the Rock Drift Male giving up land which will give him no mating rewards to take over other which will.
 
There were a good couple of days of viewing of the Rock Drift Male this month when he and some hyaenas fed from the carcass of a buffalo bull which had died near the junction of the Matshapiri and Sand Rivers.  The hyaenas triumphed, but not before the Rock Drift Male had a good feed.  Whilst this was happening, the Dudley Female arrived, but looked wary and moved off, perhaps not quite sure, on this border area, of what leopard was around.

All Credits Goes To Mala Mala
One day's life of a lion is preferable to hundred years of a jackal "Tipu Sultan"
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Pakistan fursan syed Offline
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#55

Legendary Rock Drift Male (Tjololo)

*This image is copyright of its original author

2004

January 2004
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
Location: SW MALA MALA/ NW FLOCKFIELD
(11 sightings)
 
The Rock Drift Male may very well have given up on the southern parts of the territory, which he patrolled up until a few months ago.  With his daughter, the Jakkalsdraai Female, in much of this area and mating with the Hlarulini Male, what incentive does the Rock Drift Male have to try and keep it? And, with the Short Tail Male in the north on the decline and the Ngoboswan Female courting the Rock Drift Male, there's good reason to actively expand into these parts.
 
Sightings this month suggested that this is definitely what is happening; the Hlarulini Male leopard is moving north, entering areas once patrolled by the Rock Drift Male and the Rock Drift Male is concentrating on areas of western Mala Mala, territory controlled by the Ngoboswan Female and once controlled by the Short Tail Male.
 
The Rock Drift Male was seen mating with the Ngoboswan Female this month, a marathon event of six days which was preceded by an aggressive encounter between the Rock Drift Male and the Short Tail Male. The two male leopards were seen to meet just south of the causeway on NW Mala Mala, in the heart of what was Short Tail Male territory.  No vicious fighting was seen (although the Short Tail Male did have a wound on his hip when the two leopards were found) and the two leopards simply postured and growled at one another and at one stage were only metres apart. The mating of the Ngoboswan Female and Rock Drift Male in mid-January follows what was almost certainly the loss of the Ngoboswan Females litter sired by the Rock Drift Male after the two mated in mid-September.  Indications are that the Ngoboswan Female gave birth in late December, but must have lost whatever cubs were born almost immediately, goodness knows how.
 
Whilst the Ngoboswan Female and Rock Drift Male were mating, they shared at least two kills, one a bushbuck, the other an impala, the latter consumed on the last day that the two were together.  A hyaena made off with much of this kill and, when the Rock Drift Male was feeding off the last of the scraps up in a Marula Tree, some elephants came by and were clearly upset by the leopard.  But he paid them hardly any heed, even when a bull thrashed about the bushes and nearly reached out to touch him with its trunk.

February 2004
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
Location: SW MALA MALA/ NW FLOCKFIELD
(7 sightings)
 
The Rock Drift Male had an interesting month; of the 7 sightings of this leopard during the February report-period, 6 were of him together with the Ngoboswan Female, mating. Each of these matings appeared to have been marathon events, the first seeing the two together for five days and the last, towards months end, for perhaps as long as 7 days.  That means over one third of the Rock Drift Male's month tied up in matings with the Ngoboswan Female!


*This image is copyright of its original author
 
*This image is copyright of its original author
 
The very last sighting of the Rock Drift Male towards months end was of him together with the Ngoboswan Female on what must almost certainly have been the very last day of their last mating session.  The two leopards were on western Flockfield and sharing the remains of an impala kill when the Short Tail Male, the Rock Drift Males' old adversary, arrived on the scene.  Five days before this, when the Rock Drift Male and Ngoboswan Female had probably just started this particular series of matings, the Short Tail Male had been seen investigating an area which the two had just left and then moving off in the direction taken by the mating pair.  Perhaps he had been shadowing them all the while, hoping to win back the Ngoboswan Female which, up until recently, has been 'his' rather than the Rock Drift Males'. Far from running from the Rock Drift Male, which has for the last half-year or so been dominating him, the Short Tail Male moved in and fed from the kill once the other two leopards had eaten.  And, surprisingly, the Rock Drift Male did nothing to stop him.  In fact, if anything, the Rock Drift Male was the submissive of the two and this in an area considered to be deep within Rock Drift Male territory!
 
So, what is happening?  Was the Rock Drift Males' subservience real or was it merely the result of a temporary loss of power, this following a week of mating?  Or, has the Short Tail Males' relative lack of activity over the past few months been an opportunity for him to recover some strength and with this strength is a recovery of confidence too?  Interesting times ahead for these two veterans!
 
The only sighting of the Rock Drift Male without the Ngoboswan Female occurred in early February, soon after the first mating event of the month had ended for him and the Ngoboswan Female.  On this occasion, the male leopard was found sleeping near the lower parts of the Kapen River and that evening set out on what appeared to be a combination hunting/ scent-marking patrol.  However, just before he started out, one of his old mates, the Kapen Female, arrived, but didn't give herself away to the Rock Drift Male.  She had just finished off a large meal and appeared to be patrolling this southern tip of her territory, but was certainly not keen on letting the Rock Drift Male know that she was there.  Once the male had moved off, the Kapen Female followed, walking almost the same path just taken by her mate.  When she caught up with him, or at least when she was within eyesight of him, she turned away, again making sure that he didn't spot her.  Both leopards then went their separate ways.

March 2004
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
Location: NE FLOCKFIELD
(1 sighting)
 
Surprisingly, there was but a single sighting of the Rock Drift Male this month, and this towards the beginning of March when he was found, together with another male leopard, on NE Flockfield, an area considered to be at the very eastern extreme of the Rock Drift Males' territory. The other male leopard was atop a termite mound, surrounded by a herd of buffaloes, and bolted right through the middle of them.  It was never established whether the leopard was afraid of vehicles, the buffaloes and/ or the Rock Drift Male.
 
And not only were there no further sightings of the Rock Drift Male, but there were few, if any, good signs around to indicate that he was up and patrolling his territory.  Granted, rainy conditions during the month and the lush vegetation didn't help with finding leopards, but the Rock Drift Male was certainly conspicuous with his absence.

April 2004
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
Location: WESTERN MALA MALA/ NE FLOCKFIELD (12 sightings)
 
Compared with last month, the Rock Drift Male was seen frequently and delivered some particularly fine viewing.  But it was also a testing month, one which saw what simply must be chinks appearing in the armour of invincibility which has characterised this leopard for at least the last five years.
 
The first sighting of the Rock Drift Male over this report-period was of him on the causeway opposite the camp, an area which up until recently has been in the heart of the land controlled by the Short Tail Male.  The Rock Drift Male patrolled this area and investigated it most carefully, heading as far north as the Mlowathi River. Over the next few days, he stayed in these northerly areas before he and Ngoboswan Female joined up for yet another mating event, this perhaps the fifth time this year.  Goodness knows why she can't fall pregnant. But this turned out to be a bad event for the Rock Drift Male.  Three days after the two were seen together, they were again located, close to the confluence of the Matshapiri and Sand Rivers, but with another male leopard, the Hlarulini Male, also in the area.  The Ngoboswan Female was high up in a leadwood tree and the two males were metres apart, eyeing each other out.  When the Hlarulini Male approached the Rock Drift Male, the latter moved off and made no effort to confront the trespasser.  Then, to add insult to injury, a couple of hyaenas arrived and harassed the Rock Drift Male, forcing him to flee downstream in the Matshapiri, leaving the Hlarulini Male to return to watch the Ngoboswan Female which was still perched high in the tree.
 
The Hlarulini Male is usually expected in areas way to the south of the this, with the Charleston/ Flockfield boundary and perhaps a little to the north of this understood to be the most northerly limit of his range; one wonders how he knew what was going on.  Perhaps, when the Ngoboswan Female and Rock Drift Male were first found together, near the lower parts of the Kapen, they left enough scent to attract the attentions of the Hlarulini Male. When the Ngoboswan Female descended from the tree, the Hlarulini Male approached her and the two started fighting quite furiously.  The squabble lasted for only the briefest of moments before the Ngoboswan Female broke away and scampered up to the very top of another large leadwood tree and the Hlarulini Male resumed his vigil at the base. At this stage the Rock Drift Male chose to return, but when the Hlarulini Male went to meet him, he decided to move off, headed away from the female leopard and crossed through the still strongly-flowing Matshapiri River.  Once on the other side, the hyaenas reappeared and caused the Rock Drift Male to dash for cover, growling threateningly.
 
The Hlarulini Male, meanwhile, hesitated before crossing and stood staring across the river at the Rock Drift Male.  After scent-marking the area, the Hlarulini Male forded the Matshapiri and headed threateningly towards the Rock Drift Male which immediately turned and walked away.  When the hyaenas reappeared and turned their attentions to the Hlarulini Male, they found that he wasn't intimidated by them and hardly even seemed to acknowledge their presence as he followed the Rock Drift Male. There was minimal scent-marking as the two leopards went north; they roared once or twice, the voice of the Hlarulini Male noticeably deeper and slower than that of the Rock Drift Male.  When they were not far south of the eastern side of the West Street Bridge, they parted ways, the Rock Drift Male heading slowly north, scent-marking as he moved and the Hlarulini Male doing the same as he went south. Meanwhile, back in the tree, the Ngoboswan Female seemed reluctant to descend, scanning the surrounds just in case the Hlarulini Male returned and caught her.  After perhaps twenty minutes, she descended and went running off in the opposite direction to that taken by the two males. That evening there was no sign of the any of these leopards, but a third male, the Short Tail Male, was in the area.  He later went to the eastern side of the bridge, where he milled around, sniffing the area with great care, finding out all that he could from the smells.  Later he moved northwards, methodically scent-marking.
 
So, what is to happen?  Will the Rock Drift Male be forced away and relinquish this area to the Hlarulini Male and will the Short Tail Male have a new lease on life if the Rock Drift Male is completely removed from the area?  Has the weakening of the Rock Drift Male been on the cards for some time now and is this perhaps why he was seen being confronted by another male a month ago?  And is this the reason why the Kapen Female does not appear to be seeking him for mating and has been keeping her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter under her care still, reluctant to mate and waiting for a successor?  Or is this but a temporary hiccup for the Rock Drift Male; he certainly seems powerful enough in other respects and, after three days of mating, perhaps the Hlarulini Male was confronting him when he really wasn't at his best.  But, to be humiliated in your home-town is certainly not the best thing and the Rock Drift Male will probably have to do quite a bit of repair work to recover from this. A week after this, the Rock Drift Male seemed to be back in business and patrolling his turf as if nothing extraordinary had taken place.
 
But then the next extraordinary sighting involving the Rock Drift Male occurred; whilst heading upstream along the western bank of the Matshapiri River, the Rock Drift Male noticed some warthogs ahead and started stalking and, when he judged himself to be in range, dashed in.  There was no immediate sign that he'd succeeded in catching one, but he and the warthogs vanished from view.  Then, five minutes later, he was found, just as he and a massive adult male warthog made contact.  The grass and other vegetation were long and thick and the leopard had no doubt used the cover and the initial confusion of the chase to get close enough to strike.  But the battle wasn't easy; the warthog must have been quite a bit heavier than the leopard and was putting up a fierce fight.
 
Inevitably the noise of the struggle attracted scavengers.  First to arrive were two hyaenas, but they just stood and watched as the leopard tried to subdue the warthog.  With the warthogs throat being so thick, the Rock Drift Male simply couldn't get his teeth in to asphyxiate it.  Then, perhaps 25 minutes after the battle started, two lionesses pitched up, both members of the Styx Pride.  They looked well fed already and, as other signs later suggested, must have been on some other kill nearby, together with their cubs, when they heard the squealing of the warthog.  Initially they approached cautiously, perhaps not certain as to what they were up against, but, when they saw that it was the leopard, they simply moved in to take over. By this stage, nearly half-an-hour after he'd caught the warthog, the Rock Drift Male must have been exhausted and his heart must have sunk when he saw the lionesses approaching him.  One thing he didn't do, however, was panic, and actually only let go of his prize when the lions were closing in. The warthog staggered to his feet and tried to make a dash for it, but was too far gone and the lionesses quickly killed it and then dragged the carcass into a thicket.  Within twenty minutes, maybe less, one of the lionesses headed off to go and fetch their cubs whilst the other, younger lioness stood guard.  The Rock Drift Male, which had only moved off by some fifty metres or so, then tried to sneak back, but had to flee for his life when the lioness saw him, gave chase and actually narrowly missed catching him before he shot to safety up a tall Knobthorn Tree. The lioness then returned to watch over the kill and twenty minutes later the leopard climbed down and wandered off.  That afternoon the two lionesses were at the kill, together with the three cubs.  The Rock Drift Male was found later on that evening, well clear of the lions and heading generally towards the West Street Bridge.  When he spotted a young kudu nearby, he started stalking towards it, creeping quietly through the thick grass.  And that was the last seen of him.  Having put the frustration of the morning behind him, he was carrying on as survival dictates.
 
Then, to round the month off, the Rock Drift Male was seen mating with the Ngoboswan Female yet again.  This mating apparently lasted only a short while, goodness knows why.  A dramatic month for the Rock Drift Male!

May 2004
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
Location: WESTERN MALA MALA/ NE FLOCKFIELD (7 sightings)
 
During May the Rock Drift Male was seen patrolling areas to the north and east of his more accepted limits, pacing over routes taken by the Short Tail Male, the male leopard which for so long has been the keeper of these parts and which, for the last half-year at least, the Rock Drift Male has been pressurising. One wonders just when it'll be that these two leopards will finally settle this long-running territorial dispute.

There were no sightings this month of the Rock Drift Male mating with the Ngoboswan Female and no sightings of the Rock Drift Male over the last 10 days of this May-report-period.

The last sighting of the Rock Drift Male was of him investigating an area where vultures had gathered in dead trees close to the carcass of a young impala which seemed to have died of natural causes.  The leopard was well fed and didn't appear to be that enthusiastic about finding what the vultures were after and left the area empty-handed.

July 2004
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
Location: WESTERN MALA MALA/ NW FLOCKFIELD (6 sightings)
 
Sightings of the Rock Drift Male were concentrated over a somewhat smaller area than was typically the case a year or so ago, and these were all in the northern parts of his range.   It seems that he has been pushed north by the Hlarulini Male, and has been vying for territory traditionally controlled by the Short Tail Male.   There were several sightings of the Rock Drift Male and Short Tail Male in close proximity of each other, and (almost predictably!), the Rock Drift Male was once again seen mating with the Ngoboswan Female.   One may well be inclined to give up any hope that this mating will result in the birth of cubs, but the mating intensity certainly provided some fine viewing. 
 
Interactions between the Rock Drift Male and the Short Tail Male are briefly described in the paragraphs on the Short Tail Male.
 
The next couple of months should prove very interesting for the Rock Drift Male, as he faces new challenges.   He has been a great leopard to follow for several years now, and is probably one of the most photographed leopards in the world.

August 2004
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
Location: WESTERN MALA MALA/ NW FLOCKFIELD (9 sightings)
 
The Rock Drift Male leopard seemed to have a pretty good month in August, and has been going about in a businesslike fashion, adding some of the late Short Tail Male's land to his own territory. 
 
He was seen feeding on two kills, one of them being a porcupine and one being an impala, which he and the Ngoboswan Female were sharing.   This was early in the month, and there were no other sightings of the Rock Drift Male and Ngoboswan Female together.   Indications are that she has, at last, conceived!
 
Most sightings of the Rock Drift Male were active sightings of a territorial male leopard on the move, and, as always, he provided some good viewing.   With the Short Tail Male out of his way, he has one less rival, but he will continue to face many challenges in the times ahead.   In an area with such a high density of leopards, no territorial male can have it all his own way!

September 2004
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
Location: SOUTHERN EYREFIELD / WESTERN MALA MALA/ NW FLOCKFIELD / SOUTHERN CHARLESTON
 
(20 sightings)
The Rock Drift Male leopard delivered some fine viewing in September, and he was seen more frequently this month than in any previous month on record.   On one occasion he was seen in the south of the reserve, close to the confluence of the Chellahanga and Sand Rivers.   Years ago, he used to control this part of the reserve, but it is fair to say that he can no longer claim this area as part of his territory, and he was invading occupied land!
 
As can be seen from the map, the Rock Drift Male has moved further and further north, as he continues to lay his claim to some of the territory previously controlled by the Short Tail Male.   Some of the sightings of the Rock Drift Male were very close to sightings of the Newington Male, and it can only be a matter of time before these two leopards come into conflict, if indeed they have not already done so.
 
The Rock Drift Male was seen on a number of different kills, including baboon, bushbuck and at least two impala.   Two of his daughters, namely the New Hogvaal Female (daughter of the Kapen Female) and the daughter of the White Cloth Female, were seen to "share" kills with the Rock Drift Male.   On the one occasion, the Rock Drift Male had a baboon kill up one tree, while the New Hogvaal Female had a bushbuck up a very nearby tree.   Both leopards fed on both carcasses, and it is not certain which leopard had killed what.   On another occasion, the Rock Drift Male was reported by a film crew to have killed an adult male impala late at night.   Rangers following up the next morning found two leopards in the area, the second being the daughter of the White Cloth Female.   She and the Rock Drift Male took turns to feed over the next two days, and the relationship between the two was very cordial, with absolutely no hostility.
 
Towards the end of the game report period, the Rock Drift Male was seen to be nursing some painful wounds on his hind legs.   He was walking rather stiffly, but the injuries did not appear too serious.   They may have been inflicted by another male leopard, or by the teeth of one of several other species, such as baboon, warthog or lion. 
       
October 2004
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
Location: SOUTHERN EYREFIELD / MALA MALA/  FLOCKFIELD
(11 sightings)
October was another good month for the Rock Drift Male leopard, in terms of frequency of sightings.   He still continues to exude an aura of confidence, but his territory is not as large as it once was.   He has certainly continued to move further north in the reserve, and now finds himself in direct competition with the Newington Male, as well as a couple of young upstarts.   He is well known to be a good father, as leopards go, and it will be interesting to see how he gets on with his newest progeny, the cubs of the Ngoboswan Female.   His paternal reputation was, of course, somewhat tarnished last year when he was thought to have killed the male cub of the Dudley Female.

November 2004
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
Location: MALA MALA/ FLOCKFIELD
 
(2 sightings)
After being seen so frequently in September and October, the Rock Drift Male surprised many of his followers by being seen on only two occasions on Mala Mala during the November game report period. These were on consecutive days just before the middle of the month. On the one occasion, he was seen along the Matshapiri River system, moving generally southwards, roaring and scent marking. He paid some attention to prey animals in the area, but was not seen to hunt too diligently. The following evening he was seen on Eastern Flockfield, mating with none other than the Ngoboswan Female!
 
Indications are that the Rock Drift Male has been spending much time to the west of Mala Mala, probably looking to occupy more of the land previously controlled by the Short Tail Male. Chances are good that he has also been feeling pressure from the Newington Male in the areas to the north of the Matshapiri.

December 2004
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
Location: MALA MALA/ FLOCKFIELD
(2 sightings)
 
Once again, there were only two sightings of the Rock Drift Male during this game report period. Both sightings were of an apparently healthy leopard, going about his usual business of hunting and some scent marking, but there is good reason to believe that the Rock Drift Male is under tremendous pressure. He may well have lost large parts of his once vast territory to other male leopards, including the Hlarulini Male, Chellahanga Male and Newington Male, as well as perhaps the Bicycle Crossing Male. It is not clear where he spent most of December. He could have again “camped” in a neighbouring property west of Mala Mala, or he could have been roaming further east, into the Kruger National Park. It will be interesting to see how he fares in the next few months. One thing is certain – the Rock Drift Male is a gutsy leopard, and he will not give up without a fight.

All Credits Goes To Mala Mala
One day's life of a lion is preferable to hundred years of a jackal "Tipu Sultan"
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Pakistan fursan syed Offline
Big Cats Enthusiast
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#56

Legendary Rock Drift Male (Tjololo)


*This image is copyright of its original author
2005

January 2005
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
Location: FLOCKFIELD
(3 sightings)
 
Once again, there were very few sightings of the Rock Drift Male leopard. When seen, he appeared to be in good condition, and was very well fed on one occasion. Just what his current status is territorially is not certain, but it does seem likely that his once vast territory has diminished substantially. If this is the case, though, then why is he not being seen more regularly? Perhaps it is just that the parts of Flockfield where he is spending most of his time, are not being worked very frequently by game drive vehicles. It is, of course, also possible that the Rock Drift Male is spending much of his time off Mala Mala land, either to the east or west.

February 2005
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
Location: FLOCKFIELD
(1 sighting)
 
The fact that there was just a single sighting of the Rock Drift Male in February is hard to explain. Where has he been spending his time? All was apparently well with him on the occasion that he was seen, and he was simply walking along, scent-marking and showing interest in what was around him, before settling down in the shade of some large trees on the eastern bank of the Sand River.

March 2005
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
Location: FLOCKFIELD
(1 sighting)
 
Once again, there was precious little seen of the Rock Drift Male in March. On the single day that he was seen, he was seen both in the morning and evening, and all was apparently well with him. When left he was heading east from Flockfield into the Kruger National Park. He has probably spent a fair amount of time on eastern Flockfield and further east of that. It would be interesting to know what his territorial status is at present. The Newington Male to the north, Hlarulini Male to the south-west and Chellahanga Male to the south-east, are all large, strong leopards, and the Rock Drift Male is probably less inclined to take on other males than he was as a cocky five-year-old.

April 2005
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
Location: MALA MALA
(1 sighting)
 
Once again, there was just a single sighting of the ageing Rockdrift Male leopard in April. This sighting was in Matshapiri Open Area, which is well within the territory now apparently controlled by the Newington Male. He might have lost a lot of his old territory, but he is a tough customer by nature, and may well have established a sizeable territory within the Kruger National Park. Leopards’ territories are never fixed or permanent, but the will to survive and the need to feed and compete, can keep a leopard going for a long time after he has passed his peak.

May 2005
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
Location: CENTRAL FLOCKFIELD, CENTRAL CHARLESTON
(8 sightings)
 
It was good to see the Rock Drift Male once again well represented on the map for male leopards seen in May! All seems to be well with this leopard, and he provided good viewing in his old haunts around the middle of the reserve. It must be wondered whether he has had the upper hand in any encounters with the Chellahanga Male, which would certainly explain why the Rock Drift Male has been seen more regularly, and the sightings of the Chellahanga Male were few and further south. The dynamics of male leopard territories will always be fascinating.

June 2005
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
Location: EASTERN FLOCKFIELD, EASTERN CHARLESTON
(9 sightings)
 
As if to show that he is not a “has-been”, the Rock Drift Male leopard had a very good month. He was seen to make three kills, these being an impala, an adult female kudu (witnessed only by a film crew) and a baboon. The kudu was, of course, far too heavy for the leopard to take up a tree when intact, but hyenas had their share, and after a while the leopard was able to salvage a good deal of the carcass and hoist it up a tree.
 
The Rock Drift Male patrolled the eastern part of Flockfield and Charleston with authority, and it certainly seems that he has succeeded in reclaiming this choice area from one of his rivals, the Chellahanga Male. On one occasion, he and the Chellahanga Male were seen no more than a few hundred metres from one another, but apart from that, the Rock Drift Male was not seen to come close to any other leopard, male or female. Whether he is still going to be a reproductively active leopard or not, remains to be seen.

July 2005
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
Location: FLOCKFIELD, EASTERN CHARLESTON
(5 sightings)
 
The Rock Drift Male leopard found himself again challenged by the Chellahanga Male during July, and on one occasion the two male leopards were seen together for at least three hours, engaged in territorial conflict. The Rock Drift Male seemed reluctant to take on the younger Chellahanga Male physically, and when the Chellahanga Male approached him, the Rock Drift Male moved away.
 
Whatever the outcome of the dispute, the Rock Drift Male continued to spend much time on eastern Charleston in the weeks that followed, and was seen to kill a young bushbuck a couple of weeks after his session with the Chellahanga Male. The other sightings involving the Rock Drift Male were without major drama, and he appears to be in good condition. One can only wonder how much of his old territory he still considers to be his own.

August 2005
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
Location: FLOCKFIELD, CHARLESTON , MALA MALA
(7 sightings)
 
The seven sightings of the Rock Drift Male were spread over some distance, with one of the sightings being way up in the Wildebeest Crossing area. At the beginning of the game report period, he was seen to kill an impala to the east of the Chellahanga River , and he fed on this kill for three days. On the third day, a group of rhino came very close to the site of the kill, and the leopard was a little uneasy. The other kill that the Rock Drift Male was seen to make, was a steenbok, this being a night time kill on the banks of the Kapen River, near Styx Crossing. The day after the steenbok was killed, the leopard was still in the area, looking very fat and lazy, but showed sudden keen interest in a male warthog that nearly ran into him while he was resting.
 
One gets the impression that the Rock Drift Male is no longer quite the leopard he once was, and he seems to have accepted that there are larger, stronger leopards than him. It has been a while since he has been seen to mate with a female, or to have the upper hand in a territorial clash with another male.

September 2005
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
Location: CHARLESTON
(2 sightings)
 
The “legendary” Rock Drift Male was only seen twice in September, and on the second occasion, he was clearly coming second in an interaction with the larger Hlarulini Male. No physical fighting was seen, but the Rock Drift Male retreated to the upper branches of a tree in an attempt to avoid the attentions of the Hlarulini Male.

October 2005
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
(No sightings)
 
The famous Rock Drift Male leopard was not seen at all on Mala Mala during the October game report period. It will be remembered that the last time he was seen he was on the losing side in a territorial clash with the Hlarulini Male on Charleston . Has he finally been permanently ousted from the area? Perhaps it is too early to write him off.

November 2005
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
(1 sighting)
 
The single sighting of the Rock Drift Male leopard in November was enough to show that he is indeed still alive and well. He was seen on the western bank of the Sand River on Toulon , which is not really what would be considered Rock Drift Male territory. It could be, though, that he has lost most of “his” land to competitors such as the Hlarulini Male, Chellahanga Male and Newington Male, and has to get by as a semi-nomadic individual, keeping a low profile in somebody else’s territory.

December 2005
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
(5 sighting)
 
Seen more regularly this month than last, it is always a relief to see that the Rock Drift Male is still in good condition and holding his own against the younger males in the area. He was seen catching a duiker and stayed near the carcass for two days providing guests with great photographic opportunities due to his extremely relaxed nature.
One day's life of a lion is preferable to hundred years of a jackal "Tipu Sultan"
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Pakistan fursan syed Offline
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#57

Legendary Rock Drift Male (Tjololo)

*This image is copyright of its original author

2006

January / February / March 2006

 
No sightings this month.
April 2006
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
(4 sightings)
 
After an absence of over three months, the Rock Drift Male reappeared and was seen on some of his traditional old strongholds on Flockfield. While there was nothing exciting to report, the old stalwart looked rather fit and well. He even had the audacity to scent mark in some of the territory that was once his. Obviously too old to be a territorial male, this old scrapper must still be holding his own with his adopted nomadic lifestyle.

May 2006
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
(0 sightings)
 
There were no sightings of the Rock Drift Male during the month of May. What has happened to this popular leopard is uncertain, but both the Hlaralini Male in the south and the Newington male in the north have definitely displaced him.

June 2006
 
ROCK DRIFT MALE
 
There was one sighting of the once dominant Rock Drift Male during the month of June. He was near the Chellahanga River , an area he knows very well. He was followed during the evening, and is clearly nomadic now, as he did not scent mark or act in a dominant manner.

July 2006
 
Rock Drift Male made a welcome return to Mala Mala during the report period. He was seen on one occasion in his old haunts in the south of the reserve. He looked well, and was left heading eastwards into the Kruger National Park .

August 2006
 
The Rock Drift Male was found on two occasions, all of which were on eastern Charleston. This popular male leopard is quite old now, but is still in superb condition. He was not seen to do anything dramatic when viewed.

September 2006
 
The Rock Drift Male was found on one occasion, this in a favoured old time spot of his near Charleston North Crossing. Again the leopard maintained a low profile as he went westwards, but seemed to be in good condition.

October 2006
 
The Rock Drift Male was seen on one occasion last month on the 28th. It seems that he only comes onto the property on the far Eastern Charleston. He still looks in good condition despite his age.

November 2006
 
The Rock Drift Male was seen several times in the southern parts of the reserve, close to the KNP. It seems probable that this male spends the majority of his time in the Kruger. It is not clear whether he actively holds and defends a territory, but when he was seen, he was scent marking. What is clear is that if he holds a territory, it is a fraction of the size of the area of which he formerly exerted such formidable control.

December 2006
 
The Rock Drift Male was not seen during the report period.

All Credits Goes To Mala Mala
One day's life of a lion is preferable to hundred years of a jackal "Tipu Sultan"
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Pakistan fursan syed Offline
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#58

Legendary Rock Drift Male (Tjololo)



*This image is copyright of its original author
2007

January 2007
 
The Rock Drift Male was seen only once during the report period. He was hunting impala on the southern parts of the reserve.

February 2007
 
The Rock Drift Male leopard, widely known by guests as Tjololo was seen on one occasion in the south-eastern reaches of the reserve.

April 2007
 
The Rock Drift Male was seen twice during the month of April. On the first occasion he was seen looking well but getting a bit old. He killed a kudu during the evening but was not relocated the next morning. Being a nomadic male he now wanders all over Mala Mala and we suspect he spends a lot of time the Kruger National Park.

June 2007
 
The legendary Rock Drift male was found at the very end of the report period on the Charleston/Flockfield boundary in the centre of the reserve. He was followed excitedly by the rangers and was observed to hunt impala twice in the early evening, unfortunately unsuccessfully. It is really good to see this leopard still doing so well. He is one of the oldest male leopards in the reserve and has moved his territory out into the Kruger National Park, but he still visits Mala Mala when patrolling the western extent of his territory.

July 2007
 
This legendary leopard of MalaMala was seen late one evening on Zebra Skull North. He was only viewed for a short period of time before he was left moving east off the road. Rangers followed up extensively in the area the following morning without success. Interestingly, this male was seen in a similar region the previous month. He was seen again, later during the report period, in the upper reaches of the Tjellahanga River.

August 2007
 
The legend of MalaMala’s leopards the Rock Drift Male was seen twice during the month. He was looking fit and healthy on both occasions. This leopard is now over fourteen and hasn’t been territorial for a long time but still continues to show up and entertain many an excited guest and ranger.

September 2007
 
The Rock Drift male (Tjololo) was seen a number of times during the report period. The male was seen to dwell around the area of the giraffe that the Selati pride had killed, however he was not seen to feed. Sadly, the male was not in very good condition, with the male not only being very thin, but also sporting a large wound on his fore leg. One hopes that he will recover from his injuries.

October 2007
 
The Rock Drift Male was seen once during the report period as he moved through the central southern parts of the reserve. He was in good condition and still provides rangers with a rare appearance every now and then.

Rock Drift male leopard (Tjololo) – 13 November 2007
 
When rangers and staff of MalaMala arose on the morning of Tuesday the 13 November 2007, none would have guessed that the day was shaping up to be one of the darkest days in recent history. During the course of the morning a male leopard was found along the Campbell Road on the MalaMala western boundary. Tom Bloy went to investigate reports of this leopard being the Rock Drift male and that he had been badly injured by a porcupine. Tom found Tjololo lying just inside MalaMala and he was in a pretty bad way. He was emaciated and had many long porcupine quills projecting from his neck, shoulders, legs and feet. MalaMala’s policy is to never interfere in the natural order of the bushveld, however in this case an exception was made for a leopard that had manoeuvred his way into the hearts of many. The vets were called from the KNP and they decided to dart Tjololo and remove the quills and clean his wounds. Tjololo never regained consciousness. As the procedure neared its end, the antidote was administered and Tjololo took his last breath and did not stir again. The Rock Drift Male will be sorely missed by all those that knew him, both old and new, such was the distinction of this extraordinary leopard.

All Credits Goes To Mala Mala
One day's life of a lion is preferable to hundred years of a jackal "Tipu Sultan"
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Italy Ngala Offline
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#59
( This post was last modified: 02-06-2017, 08:51 PM by Ngala )

Credits to Londolozi Blog - Leopards of Londolozi.

Mhangeni 2:2 Male (Sand River Male)

Mother: Mhangeni 2:3 Female
Sons:
2010: Piva 3:2 Male (Selati Male, Treehouse Male) -----> Mother: Piva 2:2 Female (Nottins Female)

2000 - 2014

*This image is copyright of its original author

Unique Markings: Right eye blind (opaque blue).

*This image is copyright of its original author

Horizontal spot lines on forehead.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Born in  June of 2000 to the Mhangeni female, the Mhangeni male moved south to eventually establish territory in the far southern reaches of Londolozi, with the bulk of his territory lying beyond our borders.

Known in the south as the Sand River male, he sired a number of cubs with females in that area, with one of them, the Piva male, eventually moving back into Londolozi to establish territory in 2014.

In later life he lost the use of his right eye to unknown causes; some speculate it was in a territorial fight, others suggest a spitting cobra, which in itself would be a cruel twist of irony as this was exactly what happened to his mother.

He became nomadic again in late 2013 and the last recorded sightings of him are from the winter of 2014.

Territory:
A leopard that held territory in southern Dudley, but mainly further south of that; prime habitat for the movement of medium sized antelope, consistent water sources as well as a high density of females.

2001

*This image is copyright of its original author

2002

*This image is copyright of its original author

2003

*This image is copyright of its original author

2012

*This image is copyright of its original author

2013

*This image is copyright of its original author

Other photo:

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Italy Ngala Offline
Wildanimal Enthusiast
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#60
( This post was last modified: 02-06-2017, 08:47 PM by Ngala )

Credits to Londolozi Blog - Leopards of Londolozi.

Emsagwen 4:6 Male

Sons:
2008: Anderson 4:4 Male

2003 - 2011

*This image is copyright of its original author

Unique Markings: Massive head, neck and shoulders.

*This image is copyright of its original author

One of the bigger male leopards seen on Londolozi in recent years, the Emsagwen male wasn’t often encountered, since most of his territory fell outside our borders. He was occasionally seen in the NE reaches of Londolozi, but sightings were infrequent at best.

He was initially unrelaxed around vehicles, and it is therefore assumed that he originated in the Kruger National Park. His initial territory lay along the eastern border of the Sabi Sands and Kruger.

His disappearance in the latter parts of 2011 remains a mystery, but there were some suggestions that he had met his fate at the hands of a pride of lions.  His death left a territory vacant, and the Dudley Riverbank 5:5 male, who was battling for territory with the Camp Pan male at the time, moved across to fill the gap, granting the Camp Pan male a lifeline.

Other Photo:

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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