Leopards have always been one of my favourite animals and have been following a mother leopard quite closely with her two cubs. Kigelia is one of the female leopards with a big territory around and beyond the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve and she managed to raise her two cubs, who at this point, have gone independent from her.
One rainy morning gave us a sighting my photographic guests and I have never seen, despite being on plenty of safaris! Usually, when it rains many guests choose to not go out or leave their cameras behind rather but this day, we all went out fully geared.
We spotted a female leopard from a distance. She was under a Marula tree, and we thought she was just trying to take cover from the rain. Little did we know what was about to unfold…
The Ntsumi female was under the tree while a young leopard was up a tree and we assumed it was her cub. We stayed a little while and small growls were heard from the Ntsumi female which grew louder each time. This is when we became suspicious of the events taking place and took a closer look. We then realised that the young leopard in the tree was actually one of the independent offspring of the Kigelia female, Tsutsuma.
The young leopard had gone deep into Ntsumi’s territory, and Ntsumi was not at all impressed by this. She eventually climbed up the tree and trapped the youngster. As if the growls were going to stop, Ntsumi got hold of Tsutsuma. They fought for a while, to the extent of falling from the tree. The younger leopard was overpowered and utilised a tree next to the scene to try and avoid getting hurt. She was already injured with a gash on her back leg.
As if we had seen it all, focussing on the two leopards fighting, the N’weti male arrived on scene. The young leopard took advantage of the situation and came down the tree and ran as fast as she could. By the time the N’weti male let go of the Ntsumi female, there was no trace of the young leopard. The message from Ntsumi was clear and we believe the young leopard may not step foot again in the same territory.
A young leopard without a territory will always move around to try and establish its own territories but this time the Ntsumi female’s territory is a no-go area for the young leopard. The Ntsumi female had to make sure she stamps her authority.