Sabi Sabi yesterday, today, tomorrow

nottins and mahlathini mate

by Sabi Sabi on March 25, 2013

As we were leaving Bush Lodge on our morning drive a call came over the radio. Nottins female had been found very close to Selati Camp, so we quickly started to make our way into that area. Minutes before we got to the place where one of our rangers was following the leopardess, we bumped into a male on the road.

leopards resting in the road at Sabi Sabi Luxury Safari Lodges

He was walking quickly and immediately I could see there was something on his agenda. The sounds of Bush Buck alarm calling caused him to stop and listen intently. The dominant male held his head high with his ears pricked towards the sound of the disturbance. All of a sudden he took off into the brush, disappearing before we could even think of following him. Very soon after we had lost sight of him a call came over the radio that Nottins had also been lost moving swiftly through thick bush. The relocation process kicked off and we had our trackers moving around the area trying to pick up on the smallest sign of either of them.

leopard at sabi sabi while on safari

leopards mating at sabi sabi

Once we had relocated them, the leopards were side by side. We were witnessing the start of the mating process, this is what Mahlathini male must have been hurrying for. Because of the solitary nature of these cats there is always tension when they get together and they couldn’t have made it more noticeable. Huge amounts of aggression were being displayed and the mood was tangible. Nottins was presenting herself every few minutes and the mating was intense.

leopards mating while on sabi sabi safari

leopard mating sequence at sabi sabi luxury safari lodges

This is the third attempted mating session for Nottins in the last few weeks. After mating with Xihangelas, she was shown the door by Maxabeni and now has her sights set on Mahlathini. Very strategic family planning by the experienced female. With majority of the mature males in the area believing the cubs are theirs, she can move around her territory with very little threat. Forty percent of leopard cubs are killed by other leopards so this is a way of ensuring a small amount of security.

leopards mating while on sabi sabi safari

leopards mating while on sabi sabi safari

We await the arrival of her cubs with bated breath. Will her extra effort with each of these males pay off or will she have to again move east with her cubs to try and fall under the ‘watchful’ eye of Xihangelas?

leopards mating while on sabi sabi safari

BY: SIMON SMIT (BUSH LODGE RANGER)

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

wendy hawkins March 25, 2013 at 8:31 am

Oh what an amazing altercation between these two. Stunning pics Simon – well done to you Rangers & trackers for keeping us entertained at home, while you enjoy the “spoils”!! :) So make sure you keep us informed & pics of the kidlets when it happens. Thanks

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pops March 25, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Wonderful bit of work my boet.SI…they sure dont mess about in the bush !!!
Isnt nature just proof that there really is a God…. Love POPS

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james March 26, 2013 at 11:54 am

Hi guys,

Great blog, love your posts!
This is just me being pedantic, but ‘Nottens’ is the name of your neighbouring property, and should be spelt with an ‘E’, not an ‘I’.

James

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