Leopard Cubs – The First Sighting!

We headed further inland on an afternoon safari towards Numbu Lagoon. When we arrived at the lagoon we were greeted by many species of birds catching fish in the remaining pools of water.  Some movement on the far bank caught my eye, and I quickly used my binoculars to investigate. There I saw a beautiful female leopard lying in some shade. We took our time in approaching her as I was sure I hadn’t seen this leopardess before. Over the next 20 minutes, we edged ourselves closer before she was relaxed enough for us to start taking photos.

We sat quietly for a few moments just enjoying each others presence when some movement in the tall grass caught my eye. I watched carefully and to my amazement, a baby leopard cub just a few months old emerged from the grass and began to approach us.

 

The leopardess was so relaxed with us being there that she had a nap and allowed her cub to come closer and investigate our vehicle.

 

This cub seemed so curious and brave. We all sat quietly watching this incredible sight before us. Suddenly I realised there was still movement in the tall grass. There was a second cub still hiding! The second cub had a shy nature and preferred to watch us from his hiding place.

Later mom moved towards a wingpod tree not far away and climbed up to take a nap. We then noticed she had killed an impala and stashed the carcass in the same tree. The brave cub remained with mom while the shy sibling stayed hidden in the grass. We had spent almost an hour with these three leopards, and as things started to get dark they began to feed.

Unfortunately, while feeding, the carcass fell from the tree. The leopardess descended and attempted to hoist the carcass back into the tree. The horn of the impala had become stuck at the base of the tree, and she could not lift it. Her brave cub descended as well, and the two leopards continued feeding while the shy cub slowly came out of the bushes and approached mom.

Moments later a hyena came barreling out of the bushes straight towards the leopards. The leopardess quickly climbed the tree followed by the brave cub, the shy cub ran away and hid under a thick bush. Hyena will kill a leopard cub should they find one unprotected but this was not the case tonight. The hyena grabbed the remains of the impala carcass and pulled it out of its stuck position with absolute ease. Once he had his stolen kill, he took off running in the direction he appeared from, not to be seen again. Luckily both the cubs and mom were safe. We left the scene and returned the following morning, but there was no sign of the cats. The leopardess must have hidden them in a new den site, and now she must hunt again to provide for her cubs.

We will keep you all posted should we see the leopard family again.

Check out the video below to see parts of this incredible sighting.

Mwamba

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