Thursday, 9 April 2009

06th April - Argyle Jnr’s Cubs All Still Alive

This technically isn’t a Motswari sightings update, but still something I would like to share with you.

We have a female leopard that occasionally comes past camp and into the northern reaches of our traversing, a female leopard we call Argyle Jnr. In June last year, Johannes found her lying next to the road very relaxed, we didn’t realise she was such a cool character. But it wasn’t that that blew us away…it was the fact that she had three small 3-month old cubs with her! They played happily in a tree to our one side while mom slept on the other. We got to see the cubs occasionally near a large rocky outcrop next to camp, and saw their tracks a bit more regularly, but the family spends most of their time on the adjoining game farm called Ingwelala.

Ingwelala is a shareblock reserve, and I am lucky that my family own a bungalow on the land, so I can go and spend my spare time there. Over the last few months, there seemed to only be reliable reports of one or two leopard cubs with the mother – I thus didn’t hold much hope that all three cubs were still alive. I had also only ever seen one or two cubs with the mother on my recent trips there.

It was thus with great joy that on Monday afternoon, when I went across to visit my parents at Ingwelala, we found, not one, not two, but three leopard cubs with there mom! Four leopards! It was great to see that she has done an amazing job raising the two males and one female cub. She seemed to be leading them back to a kill, but as you can’t drive off road there like you can at Motswari, we couldn’t follow.

This bodes well for the future of leopards around the camp, as when the now one-year old cubs become independent, they will hopefully move onto our property. And with a bit of luck, we can get them more habituated to the vehicles so as to get the same quality of viewing from them as we have with all our other leopards!

Incidentally, I also took my family for a drive at Motswari on Tuesday morning, and we managed to rack up the Big 5 in one drive. Besides a couple of lone elephant bulls and buffalo bulls, we had one young male lion finishing off that buffalo kill. There were about eight hyenas hanging around, and the young lion was running after them and chasing them whenever they got too close! We also got to see the large Argyle Male white rhino near Voel dam, and then Palence once again found Mbali with another fresh, large impala kill, only a few kilometres from camp.

Will give you all an update next week.

Have a great Easter!

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