After petering out, the storm that is the Avoca males once again seems to be brewing.
The three young lions were found in the south of Djuma early in the week making their boldest and biggest movement into the heart of the Birmingham males’ territory. After spending their Saturday lounging around they headed back north.
The spotted cats of Djuma and Chitwa were not about to let the tawny cats steal the show as the leopard soap opera continued with Tingana making a welcome return to the heart of Djuma on the 21st.
His overall condition has vastly improved and with that it seems the duke has been far more active in his old haunts. Unfortunately for him though, his return did not go unnoticed as later in the week Hukumuri was back on Djuma after a short absence. He made his presence known with sawing outbursts and scent marking. Meanwhile Tingana was found to the southeast and seemed nervy and uncomfortable as Hukumuri pressed on deeper into the center of Djuma. The next day Tingana was back in his comfort zone at Chitwa Dam and it remains to be seen if he will mount a challenge to the ever-pressing Hukumuri.
While the Duke has his hands full with the new contender, the little chief Hosana seems to not be bothered by it all and was again the highlight of the week. He delighted fans (which is just about all of us I think) with his playful antics. He was found multiple times and after a day spent sleeping, his normal energetic self was on full show as he proceeded to hunt impala around Quarantine Clearings before showing off his very best climbing skills, bounding from one branch to another.
The ladies from both species were not to be outdone though by the boys as the Nkuhumas, Thandi, Tlalamba and Xidulu also made appearances.
The Nkuhumas were a sight for sore eyes – it’s been weeks of intermittent sightings and with the Avoca boys around and the Birmingham’s seemingly pre-occupied down south, I would imagine the girls will be keeping a low profile going forward to ensure the survival of the sub-adults. This being said, they seemed completely comfortable lounging around northern Djuma before heading north in the evening.
The beautiful and ever active Xidulu was also seen in the western parts again as she patrolled her territory and hunted a nyala before a rather lengthy nap. She then marched into the darkness and used her athleticism to leap into a tree and escape a hyaena before continuing her nightly activities.
Thandi continues to amaze me as she masterfully positions herself and Tlalamba around the proverbial battlefield. How she has managed to keep Tlalamba out of the marauding grasp of Hukumuri and the many other males that have crossed through Djuma over the past few months is beyond me. It reaffirms just how important experience is to a mother leopard in the wild. The two were once again seen in the east of the reserve close to where Thandi gave birth and, unsurprisingly, where Tingana spent time this week. Hopefully this incredible lady will continue to outsmart the boys and in so doing keep one of Djuma’s most precious cats safe.
Written By: Tristan Dicks