It is hard to believe that it has already been 110 days since we found my favourite female leopard in a ménage e trois getting some leopard loving and now we have eventually found the result of all of this… two brand new cubs.
As we drove along the northern end of our reserve, we followed this magnificent female. That morning one of the rangers had noticed that her teats were swollen and he thought that he could see fresh suckle marks. Well it wasn’t long before we got the answer. As we followed her she started heading off the road and into some rough terrain. The camera crew on the back of the vehicle were holding onto their equipment as we bounced and bumped over the rocky area. Low range engaged, diff lock on and slowly following my trackers directions as he tried to guide me through the minefield of rocks that lay ahead.
I was concentrating so hard on the driving that I almost didn’t notice that she began to contact call…my heart stood still running through Alistair’s words earlier that day that he had seen suckle marks. She approached a massive boulder with a crevice and continued to call. We sat quietly listening for any response and finally we watched her drop her head into the crevice and when she came back up all we could see was the tiniest cub in her mouth.
The cub could not be more than a week old and this little bundle of fur just lay limp in the jaws of its mother. She placed the little one on the ground in the long grass and went back for the second cub. Once she had got them together she lay down disappearing from sight in the long grass and all we could hear were the sounds of the little leopard cubs suckling. We were the only vehicles to see her and the area has been closed as the cubs are too small and we don’t want to scare them with the noise of the vehicle. I am very sure that as long as they survive we will be seeing lots more of these two in the next 3 weeks once they are bigger, their eyes are open and they can move around on their own.