With Autumn drawing to a close darkness shrouds the cooling evenings in Djuma. The roar of the lion, as the name implies, has not been heard for some time, with both the Birmingham Boys and the Avoca males attending to business elsewhere. The Nkuhuma Pride, however, moved into Djuma from the west. The prides numbers still remain one less, and one young lioness sports a badly injured eye. This is all that remains of the possible conflict with the Avoca males. With all the vulture activity and the overwhelming smell, it was a surprise that the pride never visited the rotting elephant carcass. They chose instead to claim their own prize, a big kudu bull. This feast kept the pride well fed for two days before they once again moved off west into Arathusa.

Hosana, the little chief, continues his movements crossing back and forth between Djuma, Torchwood and Chitwa Chitwa. A possible cautionary play so as to avoid the new male in the area, Hukumuri and other larger males to the South and East? Who knows, however, he looks settled in these areas, following similar pathways to his father, the Duke of Djuma, Tingana. Both cats having been seen together behind Chitwa Dam, the older cat exerting his dominance merely through posturing. This is not the first time, and I doubt it will be the last.

Tingana has been moving between Djuma and Chitwa in a similar fashion, not roaming too far, spending his days in and around Chitwa lodge itself. Possibly a cautionary play for the old Duke? Does he perhaps have another trick up his sleeve, or has he taken his retirement to heart, set not to patrol his old lands or defend his lineage? We have not seen this mighty leopard on a kill in some time. He has, however, visited the the elephant carcass on more than one occasion, paying no heed to the feeding hyena.

The Xidulu female seems set to claim a territory within Djuma, she was caught up in a physical territorial dispute with another female leopard. The case is still open as to who it may have been, as both Thandi and Shadow’s names were used in describing the sighting. Nonetheless, amidst the blood and fur that covered the road after the skirmish a new debutant to Djuma emerged onto the scene, sending the two females scattering. The following morning Tristan got a very quick glimpse of Xidulu as she nearly tackled a jackal before scampering off west into Simbambili.

A new young male entered the scene from the north amidst the aforementioned territorial encounter between Thandi or was it Shadow and Xidulu? This new male identified as Kwatile, meaning angry, originates from Ngala to the north. Kwatile is easily recognized by his small stature – his size does not fit his apparent 4 years of age. Does this small male pose any threat to the power of Hukumuri and is he looking to stake a claim to the old Dukes territory? This very exciting new male did not show any signs of scent marking, and did not remain for long. After a failed attempt at a young warthog he moved off west into the sunset.

Hukumuri, whose eyes stir fear in the hearts of many, is likely responsible for the movement and current dynamics within Djuma. This male leopard continues to roam unchallenged, scent marking all the way through Djuma and beyond staking his Cl aim.

Tracks of a leopard cub have been found, and we wait with bated breath these coming days for signs of Tlalamba. Thandi was found patrolling the southern boundary of Djuma, walking with much purpose and determination, scent marking where Hukumuri has left his mark. A possible indication that her cub is no more? We are not sure, Tlalamba has not been seen in a few weeks. Thandi’s efforts are either one of defiance against the incursion by this new male or may be as a result of her coming into oestrus? However, her efforts may in fact be as a result of the activity of the young Xidulu female, although the truth of thataltercation have yet to surface. Thandi does not appear injured in anyway which one would expect after a physical altercation.

Written by

Steve Faulconbridge