Friday, 3 December 2010

Vyeboom Dam Male Leopard

Name: Vyeboom Dam Male (after Vyeboom Dam, a large dam around which this male was regularly seen as a cub)

Born: March 2008

Territory: This is a young male that is yet to establish his own territory, and as such still utilises the territory in which his was born; but as he gets older his father (Argyle male) will push him out and he will have to look for a territory of his own. There is a lack of males in the south and east, so it is hoped that this male will move into one of those gaps. Vyeboom Dam male is named after a large dam on the Nhlaralumi, right on the northern boundary of the Timbavati, where he frequently hangs out. This leopard is often seen around Motswari camp and the rest of Motswari’s property and Argyle. Vyeboom Dam male also spends a lot of time on Ingwelala just north of the Timbavati.

Females: As this leopard is still immature and yet to establish a territory, he has no females within his range.

Cubs: No cubs yet

Mother: Argyle Jnr female

(click on map for larger view)
Father: Argyle male

Siblings: Shongile female, 2:1 male

Neighbours: This male doesn’t have permanent neighbours yet, but shares his home range with Argyle Jnr female, Argyle male, Shongile female, 2:1 male and Kuhanya female.

Story: This male was born to a remarkable female, Argyle Jnr, who amazingly raised all three of her cubs born in 2008 to independence. The Vyeboom Dam male is a relatively nervous young male, and didn’t follow in his sister’s relaxed footsteps. Just before he reached independence, we would regularly find this leopard in the rocky area of the Nhlaralumi riverbed north of Vyeboom Dam, but he would seldom tolerate a close approach, and moved off quickly if the vehicles drove to near. However, a patient approach would reward us with good sightings of this male, especially at night when one could get within a few meters of the leopard without disturbing him. After Argyle Dam filled up at the end of 2009, this male moved his activity further eastwards towards this dam and Motswari camp, and is often seen around the stretch of the Sohebele riverbed in this area. With the increase in sightings, he is slowly becoming more habituated to the vehicles, and positive steps have been made, especially on the occasions when he has managed to make large kills in close proximity to the camp. One impala kill of his lasted 6 days, and by the end of this sighting, he would not even open his eyes as the vehicles drove in and out of the sighting. We hope that this has laid a good foundation that can be worked on to develop another relaxed male leopard in the reserve. Sadly though, there is probably not a lot of time left for him in the area, because as he reaches maturity, his father will force him out and he will need to seek a territory of his own. The lack of males to the south and east of his current area might be potential future homes for this young male leopard.

Vyeboom Dam Male eating the remains of a lioness
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