Until recently humans knew very little about leopards in the wild. They were the ghosts of the bush, reclusive and mysterious. Their solitary nature and humans’ tendency toward noise and violence made interactions, let alone relationships, unlikely. Day after day, as we follow the lives of the leopards of the Sabi Sand, all of this seems rather distant. Not only do we spend substantial time with leopards, we are even able to understand their individual personalities.
There is no better example of this than Hosana. The safariLIVE community has known him since the day he was born, cheering him on as he learned how to hunt small game and grieving with him as a dealt with the loss of his mother. We’ve been around for nearly all the milestones of this young leopard’s life. But it goes even further than that. Hosana is an unusual leopard. Every week we find him doing the unexpected; veering outside what would be widely considered “normal” leopard behaviour. He has stalked a baby hippo from a precarious tree. He’s been known to follow other leopards for the comfort of their company. He genuinely seems to enjoy the presence of animals, even including a few bipedal ones.
Hosana’s quirky personality continues to develop right before our eyes. Lately, while the rest of the leopard community in Djuma and its environs are in a state of limbo, the non-territorial youngster is thriving. While navigating the complicated milieu that accompanies a male leopard take-over, Hosana has consistently looked in top form. Furthermore, he’s been hunting larger and larger game, as exemplified by his recent obsession with herds of buffalo.
Fifty years ago, to know a leopard so intimately would have seemed like a fanciful daydream. Now we not only get to know individual leopards, but we get to know what makes individual leopards tick. It’s fascinating. It’s rewarding. It’s inspiring. It’s safariLIVE.