The leopard drama of the northern Sabi Sand continued this week with some interesting behaviour on both the male and female fronts. Xidulu has been trying to mate with Hukumuri in the west. Thandi is still sporting an open wound but roamed freely across Djuma – moving back into the north western areas for the first time since her fight with Xidulu. Also there has been much sign of little Tlalamba with lots of tracks being seen as well as a brief view on the dam cam.

Tingana continues his curious relationship with his son Hosana with the two of them being seen interacting on a few occasions. Hosana has been his normal entertaining self spending much time in Chitwa Chitwa lodge, however he has also been exploring further to the north than he has for some time. Tingana’s reduced range is apparent with his spending 90% of his time around Chitwa Dam. With Hukumuri being kept entertained by Xidulu, the old male he did manage one long foray deep into Djuma. Tingana’s future is also now being threatened by Quarantine (now five) who has made some moves into the eastern part of Chitwa Chitwa.

Also on Chitwa, Tristan was able to bring us some exquisite first views of Kuchava’s cub in the eastern parts. There has unfortunately been no sign of Thamba since the 4th of April so he seems to be dispersing further afield. There have also been sporadic reports of Gijima and the unnamed female with two cubs to the north of Djuma.

The lion dynamics seem to also currently be in a transitional phase. The Nkuhuma Pride has been all over the northern Sabi Sand after their interaction with the Torchwood Pride early in the week (resulting in a new eye injury for one of the adults). They managed to kill a kudu east of buffelshoek dam and spent the next day on Djuma. Since then they have been moving large distances to the south and west of Djuma and Chitwa Chitwa. They are currently on the Londolozi boundary around the Manyeleti River. Interestingly, the Styx Pride are also in the same area.

The Torchwood Pride, after making a brief appearance on Chitwa where they killed a male Nyala, moved back north into their more traditional territory. The constant movement of the lionesses is probably due to the Birmingham males spending the majority of their time mating with the latest two prides to fall under their dominion to the south of us.

There has been no sign of the Avoca males in the Sabi Sand this week, but I have received reports that they are not far from the boundary in the Manyeleti Game Reserve. We have had a few visitors from yesteryear, with a single sickly Majingilane making a brief appearance on Djuma as well the two Matimbas being seen just west of Djuma.

I look forward to seeing what next week brings!

Written by: Brent Leo Smith