THANDI (and cub)
WE figured correctly that Thandi couldn’t resist going to back to her stashed impala carcass. As always, the new mother agiley jumped into the tree to feed on her impressive kill. Her return was quite convenient as it allowed us to follow Thandi to her newest den.
Our persistence and patience finally paid off and after days of searching WE finally locked eyes on the cub for the second time. Eager to both give Thandi and the cub space while also habituating the cub to our presence, WE watched from a great distance as the cub played. The cub seemed more comfortable with the idea of its exploration than its protective mother; as it meandered off, Thandi got visibly nervous and gave a short warning snarl that she required more space.
WE stumbled upon this increasingly sought after leopard and she was anything but flat. She was slinking through thick bush, scent marking; Shadow, her litter mate was also found in unusually close proximity, which may have initiated the need for this. In her travels she came upon a duiker and in a leopard’s opportunistic style, she pounced- missing. Then, as if the day wasn’t busy enough, Thandi bumped into six members of the Investec wild dog pack. She snarled and chased them off, making it clear that she wanted nothing to do with them.
Both days WE had the best views yet of the little one who seems eager to explore the world outside of the den. Of course, mom was her usual protective self as we looked on.