Leopards are known to be extremely shy and secretive, but a leopard mother with cubs is even more elusive and something we rarely see. This week, new mother Romi treated guests to a glimpse of her litter and Deputy Head Guide Alice was able to capture a few photos. After spending about eight weeks in the den, a mother leopard will move her babies every few days to keep predators such as snakes, hyenas and lions from tracking the little cubs.
Romi's territory is the riverine forest near Governor's Camp and she sometimes crosses to the other side when the river is low. This was the first sighting of her new cubs and we are all hoping there will be many more.
Leopard sightings in general have been good this week as we also caught up with a legend of the Triangle on a hunt — the one and only Shujaa. Using the cover his territory, the Maji Machafu area, provides, this perfectly camouflaged hunter has made the most of the available prey during Migration Season, a change from his standard warthog meal.
In a flash, a young wildebeest didn’t even sense danger until it was too late. Leopards sneak up on their prey till they are within a few feet and strike with such swiftness and ferocity that their target rarely sees it coming. Angama Guide, Pilipili, was able to snap some shots as Shujaa was dragging his prize away for safe devouring.
As if it couldn’t get any better with leopards this week, the BBC male was also spotted — but he wasn't alone. He was in the company of a female, which means they are a mating pair and an interaction that we seldom see between leopards. Angama guest, Arrie Arora, was lucky enough to witness this and captured some great shots with one of our cameras from the Angama Photographic Studio. We are yet to identify this female and will need to get some good close-up shots using her rosettes and distinguishing face markings.
Setting off on a safari game drive, I always wonder with anticipation what the wild has to offer. Some sightings can be dramatic, while others can be downright hilarious — and this time I was beside myself with laughter. On a morning game drive, we came across three lionesses eyeing a herd of wildebeest.
The three lionesses fanned out, encircling and stalking their prey for a good distance before launching an attack. With cameras at the ready, our hearts beating fast, we watched as the lead lioness inched closer and closer to her target. When she reached the minimum striking distance, she sprung from her crouching position and within two seconds was on her prey. But the tables were quickly turned as the usually indomitable lioness was running for her life with the wildebeest in hot pursuit — giving us a good chuckle.
Speaking of wildebeest, instead of marching north together, the mega herds are still spreading wide towards the east and south of the Triangle. But in typical fashion, they are mowing their way through the grassland.
Every now and then, we witness a few animals making their way across the river into the Triangle — where the crocodiles are always ready to snatch a meal. Once again, guest Arrie Arora provided us with some images of a zebra foal that lost its life making its way across the river with its mother. The poor mother could only watch helplessly from the banks as it disappeared into the water and the jaws of a croc.
Risasi and her two nearly-grown boys are doing very well and have lately been spending their time around the Military Area, close to the border with Tanzania. The two cubs are much bigger now and soon they will move on — leaving their mother as they start to fend for themselves.
Today, you wouldn't recognise this little guy who was born this time last year. He's probably more than double this height now but he will stay with his mother for another year and suckle for a few more months.
Filed under: This Week at Angama
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