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The moment we had all been waiting for finally arrived - Tlangisa the female leopard and her two 10-week-old cubs made their debut appearance in the episode we’ve dubbed ‘third time lucky’.
Our Ulusaba Rangers only visit the den when they know ‘Mum’ is around to protect her cubs, so after Tom & Brandon spotted her on Monday afternoon, they wasted no time and parked up just by the jackalberry tree that Tlangisa and her cubs were lounging on and made sure the leopards were comfortable with them being there before going live.
Tom & Brandon explained that game drives are all about patience, so as we optimistically waited for the leopards to perk up from their afternoon nap, they gave us a little background on Tlangisa whose name comes from the local Shangaan language, meaning ‘the playful one’. She’s 11 years old and one of our very successful resident female leopards. It’s challenging raising cubs in the wild but Tlangisa knows her surroundings and territory extremely well and the cubs appeared very relaxed – a true reflection of their mother. The Rangers believe it’s her 6th litter and that ‘Dad’ is the famous Ravenscourt, an established 8-year-old male leopard that most of our previous guests are likely to be familiar with.
Watch Tlangisa and her cubs part 1 here
Tlangisa’s other cub soon strolled out of their resting spot and clearly wanted to start playing. When cubs play fight, they develop vital skills such as strengthening their athletic ability. By four weeks old they are already climbing trees which is key to their survival and so important given the survival rate of cubs is sadly only about 50%.
Leopards are naturally very protective of their cubs and don’t let any wild species come near them until they are ready to fight their own battles. Luckily Tlangisa trusts the shape of the vehicle, so Tom & Brandon were delighted to share such a rare moment with everyone tuning in this week.
Watch Tlangisa and her cubs part 2 here
As the sun began to set, we headed back over to Brad & Stuart who had been tracking some elephants by Rock Lodge. The two older elephants were a little pre-occupied with play fighting, so the third younger elephant wandered off leaving the adults to play, with a fourth bull coming to see what all the commotion was about.
Watch the bull elephants here
The game drive came to a fitting close when a huge bull elephant came right up close to Brad (who had best seat in the house, the Tracker’s seat), giving safari viewers a glimpse of how comfortable the wildlife are with the vehicle.
Watch the elephants coming to say goodbye here
See you next week, same time same place, for another live sofa safari adventure – Monday 4th May at 3:30PM BST.
Spotted on Sofa Safari #3
• Tlangisa the female leopard and her two 10-week-old cubs
• Four elephants
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