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Great news! Xlabankunzi female leopard has given birth to cubs!! We don't yet know how many there are but she was seen moving into a secluded spot along the Mabrak River softly calling them the other day.
It won't be long before she moves the den site and soon we will start gently introducing them to our presence. I can't wait as it's been some time since we've seen young cubs! The Dewane male leopard has been busy mating with any female in estrus. He even got the attentions of both MItsi and Shikavi at the same time! When we came upon them, Mitsi was up in the tree feeding on the bushbuck and the male was lying at the base of the tree with Shikavi. It was probably Mitsi's kill and when the Dewane male came to scavenge it, Shikavi followed him. The male wasn't in the mood for love as we watched him spurn several attempts by the female to mate. Eventually he got tired of all the attention and just as a hyena arrived on the scene, he decided to climb the tree to see if he could steal some meat. Mitsi was feeding on a high branch with little place to maneuver so when he got close she hissed and growled at him to back off. He seemed to get the message and lay down on a branch. This gave Mitsi time to gingerly sneak around him and get down the tree. He immediately moved across to the where the kill was and discovered that she hadn't left him anything! He climbed down and followed Mitsi off into the bush. Shikavi and the hyena both scanned the ground for snacks but gave up after a while. We left shikavi desperately trying to follow the scent of the male. It was an amazing sighting and pretty rare seeing three unrelated leopards together without a fight breaking out.
Watching the bush come alive leads us to look forward to summer along with its rebirth as the impala lambs as born in November and all the migratory birds return to nest.
It's going to be a lovely time to visit Ulusaba and we all can't wait to meet you and welcome back returning friends.
Phillip Andrew and the Ulusaba ranger and tracker team
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