A great future for the offspring of the Little Bush female
Here at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve we are blessed with many spectacular leopard sightings, all of them memorable beyond words. The majority of the leopards at Sabi Sabi are are females, as females have smaller territories (rough estimate: 12km²). A male leopard’s territory is much larger, encompassing about 4 – 5 females in their territory (rough estimate: 48km²).
However, with all these female leopards, territories do overlap and a few territorial disputes to come to an agreement as to who is more dominant and they move on with their solitary lifestyle, except for one female…
This female was known as the Little Bush female. An excellent mother who has raised many cubs to independence – out of her last three litters she has successfully raised two female cubs, namely the Kigelia female (above image) and the Ntsumi female. This female would teach her offspring to hunt, be aware, agile, skilful, all the characteristics a young leopardess requires to face the wild alone, even to the extent of giving up her territory to the cub and moving her own territory elsewhere, a true mother.
While writing this blog, we have just come to the assumption that a female leopard killed by the 6 Mhangeni sub adult lions was the Little Bush female, at the age of 13. This took place at the beginning of August 2018, just days after she was found mating again with the Maxabeni male after losing her 20 – 25 week old cub (latest litter) two months prior to that.
With the sad, there always is a bright light at the end of the tunnel, and that is her two independent offspring who carry out the exact same characteristics their mother use to have, and the one, Kigelia female seems to be pushing her territory more and closer to Little Bush Camp, the area where she was born and raised. Could this be her scouting for a potential den site, could she be pregnant?
We will just have to wait and see. Keep following…
- Camera – Canon 7D mk ii
- Lens and Focal length – Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM at 157 mm
Settings used to capture this image
- ISO – 400
- Aperture – f2.8
- Shutter – 1/1600
Editing used on this image
As this image was pretty much taken into direct sunlight and the lighting was very harsh (08h30 in the morning), I decide to put the image into monochrome. I edited by increasing the darker colours such as the shadows and the blacks and decreasing whites and the highlights to assist with the best match in contrast. The subject (leopard) goes perfectly well with the highlighted sky in the background whilst positioned up in a tree.