Author Topic: Nov.2014 - Updated Bios of Karula, Family & Other Leopards (not drives)  (Read 101551 times)

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Offline BBE

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The last WildEarth Game drive was in July 2013.  The new three months of drives will be Nov. 2, 2014 through Jan. 31, 2015. In the past 16 months there have been some changes in Karula's family.

This topic contains an updated bio on Karula and some of her family. At some point I would like to do a short bio on some of the other leopards we might see on the upcoming drives (especially the male leopards).

KARULA: the dominant female leopard in the area known as Djuma.
  • Birth date:March 15, 2004.
  • Her Mother: was well known and called ‘Safari female’ (who was blind in one eye). Safari died in late Nov. or early Dec. 2011.
  • Her Father: Believed to have been Mufufunyane; the father of Karula’s her first litter. He was the dominant male in most of Western Gowrie. Deceased in Jan. 2012.
  • Territory: When we first met her in 2009 her dominant territory was Djuma Private Game Reserve. (DPGR) Over the years her territory has widened to include other areas such as Arathusa and Cheetah Plains. She is now seldom seen at DPGR.
  • She has given birth to four (4) litters since 2009; of which one pair Mixo and Induna) haven't been seen for some time, but the rest are alive and well.

UPDATES as of October,2014:
1.Mid October 2014, Karula was seen on Arathusa and is likely pregnant. This photo was taken by Craig Hamilton:

2. Dec. 18. 2014 - A few months ago Karula was thought to be pregnant with her 5th litter, and appears she might be.

3. Dec. 19. 2014 the guides on Cheetah Plains saw Karula and she definitely has suckle marks. They posted these two photos on FB.


4. Dec. 31, 2014 Very sad news today about Karula and her cub.
Very sad news to share with you all.  On the Dec. 31st morning (in Africa) drive we found Karula.  We were so elated.  She led up to her tiny, tiny cub!  But tragedy struck when two hyenas showed up.  Karula did her best to fight them off (and she got in a good swipe on one), but was not able to save her cub, which was taken away by a hyena.  Karula seemed stunned.  We were all heartbroken.  From joy to grief in just moments.

This tragic event occurred on a drive. As such the rest of Luvthebirds beautiful words and all subsequent posts start at this link:

Addendums for 2015

1. January 11, 2015 it was reported that while not close up Karula been seen once or twice by a ranger or two; but no cub was seen.

2. January 15, 2015 Dawie Jacob (a Ranger with nearby Elephant Plains) saw and posted a photo of Karula. Also that two days previously she had been seen mating with Mvula.  If this true then she either had only the one cub or if two, the other one didn't survive. Female leopards do not mate for 18 - 24 months after they give birth. At which time they encourage the youngsters to move away and find their own territory.

Feb. 10, 2015 from Cheetah Plains Karula has been seen near Quarantine area - her old stomping grounds. And a beautiful photo taken by Andrew Khosa of her coming down from a Marula tree.
Who knows - -  she may meet up with her sons Q-Male and Kunyuma?

Karula in a Marula

Our beautiful and beloved 'Queen of Djuma'  :heart

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. (Anonymous)
Avatar is of Karula (female leopard). May 1, 2013

Offline BBE

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Re: Nov.2014 - Updated Bios of Karula, Family & Other Leopards (not drives)
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2014, 04:08:40 PM »
Karula is 10 going on eleven years old and delivered has four litters. If word is right, she may well be expecting a fifth litter. She has given birth to 5 sons and three daughters; all with her (and father's) strong genes.
2007 Her1st litter was born, probably in early to mid-February, on Djuma Private Game Reserve (DPGR).
  • Two female cubs.
  • The WildEarth guide (Rexon) gave them Shangaan names of Saseka and Tingana.
  • In 2012 when Karula and family started moving around other areas / reserves they were renamed by  a group of guides for the areas.
  • The names they are known by now are in the brackets: Saseka, (Thandi) meaning ‘Beautiful’, and Tingana, (Shadow) meaning ‘Shy one’. N.B. there is a male leopard on Sabi Sands known as Male Tingana.

2008 Karula's 2nd litter as born on Djuma in mid- late November (2008).
  • We first saw them in Jan. 2009.
  • Both cubs were male.
  • Their Father was believed to have been Yambilu-Jordaan; the dominant male from the very northern part of Western Gowrie.
  • One cub was named Mixo, (pronounced Me- Shoe) meaning 'elusive' and he was the latter. Off on his own many times. Last seen in April or June 2014. Apparently he is mostly over in Kruger National Park KNP); which makes it hard to track him.
  • The other cub was named Induna, meaning ‘chief' and he was always the leader when he and Mixo were together. He was last seen in July 2014. apparently is occasionally seen at Buffleshoek, but mostly to the south of Manyeleti.
  • Neither Mixo or Induna have been seen since mid 2014.

Mixo in April or June 2014

Induna in July 2014 Photo by Jors Dannhauser. Maybe on Arathusa?

2010 Her 3rd litter was first spotted on  Djuma Nov. 22, 2010 (so likely born about two months prior).
  • In early Jan. 2011 it was confirmed that Karula had a boy and a girl.
  • The male cub was named Xivambalana, (shiv-am-ba-lana),meaning ‘emerald spotted wood dove’; like the bird he was named after, he is shy.
  • The girl was named Xivindzi, (shiv-ind-zee). Her name means ‘bold’.  
  • People are 99.9% sure that Yambilu-Jordaan was their father. He died in late Dec. 2011 or early Jan. 2012.
  • Even at a young age Xivindzi was determined and adventurous. She often went off on her own, which Karula wasn’t happy about.  I recall one drive where Karula called and called her for some time before she came back to the termite mound.]*]In spite of many requests to various areas; no-one has seen her for almost 2 years now. There was some indication she may have wandered over to Kruger National Park (which WE and lodges can't go into); or that she drowned in the floods of 2012.
  • She was a beautiful soul. :ecsad

This is the last photo I have of Xivindzi. Taken Nov. 2, 2011 at either Arathusa or DPGR.

  • As of mid 2014 Xivambalana is now a very big, strong and handsome leopard.
  • He has tried to take over in some areas (like Arathusa) as the dominant male; but has been gently nudged away from the area.
  • Mvula is the dominant male there at present, so he may give Xivambalana a 'dressing down'.
  • For the past few months when seen it has been around Nkorho; where his 'sisters' Thandi and Shadow and their new offspring live; as well as his older cousin 'Bahuti' (Thandi's oldest son).
  • He needs to find his own territory with some females.

This photo was taken Oct. 26 or 27th, 2014  at Nkorho.  Posted by by Nkorho Rangers. Handsome and strong young man.  :eclove

2012 Karula's 4th litter was likely born in mid to late December 2012.
  • Two boy cubs were first seen on Cheetah Plains in early 2013 (where Mum had been for several months).
  • The boys were named in Jan. 2014.
  • .Their father is believed to be ‘Mvula’; the extremely large, solid, and handsome male leopard. He is likely the father of many leopards as he has been seen mating with numerous females; one being Karula in Sept.2014.

Quarantine Male, (a.k.a. ‘Q-Male’), is certainly living up to his name.
  • He hung around the Quarantine area of Cheetah Plains for some time.
  • At that time one of the ranger's at Cheetah Plains posted he was the more aggressive of the two males which at the moment is one of his distinct characteristics. Also that he believed he was going to grow up to be one fierce male.
  • He is a big boy.
Kunyuma, (Kun-yu-ma), Tsonga meaning ‘shy’.
  • At first we saw very little of him. Since the fall of 2014 he has been seen more often. Sometimes on recent WE drives with his brother.
  • One the Rangers wrote that when first observed Kunyuma seemed to have a very meek and placid nature. He also wrote that Kunyuma often avoided eye contact with the vehicle and would slink off to seek the safety of a branch or shrub.

Oct. 31, 2014, Quarantine Male taken by Jors Dannhauser.

Jan. 3, 2015, Morning drive

` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Kunyuma Sept. 2014

Jan. 2, 2015 on Drive

1. More information about the leopards (written by Connie Jaynes [CJ] and edited by me) can be found at: 

2. See next post for update on Shadow (Tingana) and Thandi (Saseka).
Updated on Jan. 16, 2015 by BBE
Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. (Anonymous)
Avatar is of Karula (female leopard). May 1, 2013

Offline BBE

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Re: Nov.2014 - Updated Bios of Karula, Family & Other Leopards (not drives)
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2014, 04:09:18 PM »
UPDATE ON SHADOW (aka Tingana) and THANDI'S (aka Saseka) PROGENY
Started in Nov. 2014 and completed Feb. 2, 2015.

  • First litter of two cubs were born in 2010 and while there were sightings of the neither cub survived past one year.
  • A second liter was born in late 2011 or early 2012 and also did not survive past one year.
  • We know (from a Arathusa Guide/Ranger) Shadow had a third litter in the fall of 2014.
  • In Dec. 2014 they appeared to be about 3 months old.
  • They were seen by one of the guides or a ranger with Arathusa.
  • Pieter on Nov. 9, 2014 drive did see Shadow on Arathusa, under a tree, in a gulley, but not the cubs.
  • Later in Nov. or early Dec. we saw Shadow with only one cub and have only seen one since. She had chased the cub up a tree to where she had a kill. Shadow then stood her ground under the tree all night, protecting her cub from hyenas. In the morning shadow and her cub had left the scene.

First litter - the young cubs did not survive - no documentation as to what happened.

Oct. 2014 Shadow at Elephant Plains. Taken by Louis Liversage.

Dec. 30, 2014 with her cub. Posted by Estelle Clark.

Jan. 18, 2015 Shadow seen on Arathusa

Feb. 1, 2015 Beautiful photo of Shadow's cub taken by Dawie Jacobs of Elephant Plains.

Nov. 9, 2014 Drive with Pieter Pretorious. Sighting starts about the 1 hour 43 minute mark.
<iframe width="640" height="385" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>  

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In my assorted check of notes and photos Thandi had her first litter sometime in August 2012.
  • She had a female and a male cub.
  • One night when the cubs were about 8 old they were attacked by some members of the Styx Pride.
  • The male cub managed to get up a tree, but his sister didn't make it all the way up and was killed. He is in late 2014 a handsome 2.5 - 3 year old very handsome leopard called 'Bahuti'; I will provide a short bio with photos in the next segment of other leopards.
  • Thandi had a second litter likely in Sept. 2014. They are both doing well and as yet not named.

It is interesting as Karula, and both her daughters Thandi and Shadow all had litters around the same time in 2014.

Nov. 2013 Thandi with her cubs by Pieter Dannhauser at Nkorho Bush Lodge

Nov. 3, 2014 Thandi's cubs - by Remy Jaeger

Dec. 6, 2014 - two photos by Pieter Dannhauser. One is of one cub and the other is either both cubs or Thandi with one.

Dec. 6, 2014 Thandi and cub by BBE2009, on Flickr

Dec. 19, 2014 - Thandi

Jan. 1, 2015 Thandi and cubs at Nkorho  A male and a female cub


Added Feb. 11, 2015.   Sad news to report from Tara on the AM Drive (CAT). Word has been received that one of Thandi's cubs had been killed.
The two photos that Elin refers to are the third and fourth up from the 2015 photo.

Thandi and Shadow had their 2014 litters about the same time. They have also both; and both lost cubs along the way.

Sad news to read  :ecsad
Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. (Anonymous)
Avatar is of Karula (female leopard). May 1, 2013

Offline Tigerlady105

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Re: Nov.2014 - Updated Bios of Karula, Family & Other Leopards (not drives)
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2014, 06:49:40 PM »
Very interesting comments and photos, BBE.  Thank you.   :nod2
« Last Edit: January 16, 2015, 08:11:03 PM by BBE »
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Offline BBE

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Re: Feb. 2015 - Leopards (other than Karula's) You May See
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2015, 05:33:13 PM »
Karula's three sons are still being seen, albeit Xivamabalana less frequently of late.  The information about the 'brothers three':
  • Xivamabalana (Karula' 3rd litter) and
  • Quarantine Male (Q Male) and his brother Kunyuma; from Karula's 4th litter can be found near the end of this post re Karula's family. HERE.

MVULA is one major player around Djuma and Arathusa is a strong, big and handsome leopard by the name of 'Mvula'.
  • He was born in 2005 in the Sabi Sands area called 'Lion Sands'(quite a way south of the game reserves we are familiar with . It is south of Londolozi).
  • Mvula, which means rain, was named after first being spotted in a tree during a heavy downpour in Elephant Plains traversing area.
  • He was quite a mystery when he first entered the Djuma/Gowrie area in July 2008. Finally, he was recognized as being the same young male leopard that had been seen at Leopard Hills and Elephant Plains during the previous nine months.
  • His litter mate is known as the Tsova Male in Lion Sands.
  • Mvula is in the process of staking out his territory. He seems to move mostly around the Djuma/Gowrie, Nkorho, and Elephant Plains areas. He has mated with Karula on many occasions and is thought to be the father of Quarantine Male and Kunyuma.[Also he has mated with Shadow (Tingana) ? the father of latest litter??
  • He is a strikingly handsome leopard of good size and hopefully he will stay in the area and provide great viewing for many years to come.

Mvula 2010 - photographic info not available

Mvula Nov. 2014 by BBE

Mvula Dec. 2014 by Jors Dannhauser

Mvula Jan. 2015 by Suzanne Hettervan-Wolf

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Bahuti is the son of Thandi (Saseka), so Karula's grandson and Mvula.
  • He was born in August 2012.
  • His littermate, a female, was killed by the Styx pride, when she was approximately 8 months old. Bahuti managed to get up a tree out of harms way; but his sister didn't quite make it up to join him and was dragged down by one the lionesses.
  • His older brother Wabayiza, (born 2010) was also killed during a run in with the Styx Pride in April 2014).
  • Bahuti is a very handsome young man, has left home, but hangs around Nkorho area (where is mother is frequently seen.)

Bahuti with Mother (Thandi) 2012 on Nkorho Bush Lodge

Bahuti. Jan 2014 with Thandi by BBE.

Bahuti, 2014; Oct. 8. Nkorho Bush Lodge Rangers.

Bahuti, 2014; Nov. 8.  Nkorho Bush Lodge Rangers.

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  • His name means 'shy'. Not too sure about that?.
  • As of 2015 his age is estimated at 9 years old.
  • he is mostly seen around Simbambili Game Reserve and has on occasion wandered to Elephant Plains and Arathusa.
  • He is a confident male, and we have seen him mating with a few different females - like Salayexe, and Karula (a few times near Arathusa before her 4th litter) and I believe once since.?
Male Tingana Jan. 20 or 21, 2014 by Nkorho Bush Lodge Rangers.

Male Tingana Jan. 29, 2014 by Nkorho Bush Lodge Rangers.

Male Tingana Nov. 2014 on Simbambili Game reserve by Ranger Lam Rainier.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 SALAYEXE is the female leopard we used see a lot on drives back when.
  • Salayexe was born around 2006.
  • Daughter of the original Saseka, not the one we know as Thandi).
  • Her name means 'the only one' (her brother died when they were 3 months old.). As of 2015 will be around 10 years old.
  • First litter around March 2009. The cubs a male (Rhulani) and female (Nsele) are the only two cubs who have been raised to adulthood and are still alive.
  • Feb 2011 gave birth to two cubs. Unfortunately the two cubs weren’t seen again after May 2011 and Salayexe had later been seen mating, indicating that the two cubs had not survived.
  • The cubs from litter born in Dec.2011 did not survive.
  • In June 2012 after mating with Male Tingana she gave birth in and managed to raise her female cub to a year old.  Again tragedy struck and her daughter was killed by hyenas on July1, 2013.
  • In May 2014 she was seen with her 2 three month old cubs. Fate struck again in June 2014 when a guide followed Male leopard tracks into the area where she and her cubs had been denning. One was found dead and in July 2014 it was confirmed the other cub had also died.

Except for Nisele and Rhulani; so much sadness for Salayexe.

The first two pics took some serious sleuthing to find  :investigate2
2009 A young Salayexe, about 3 years old. On Sabi Sands by Eleanor James.

2011 on Arathusa by Brendon Cremer.

In January 2015 around Nkorho area. These pics taken by their Rangers.

Jan. 7/8, 2015 - Up a tree with a kill.

Jan. 20/21, 2015

NOTE: News that in Dec. 2014 both Arathusa and / or Elephant Plains reported seeing Salayexe and they confirmed she had suckle marks. So maybe she has cubs tucked away ?

As promised late last year, my mission has been accomplished. All the leopard information has been updated. I had to search over may blogs, FB info and elsewhere to decide on bio!.  :eclove
Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. (Anonymous)
Avatar is of Karula (female leopard). May 1, 2013

Offline Tigerlady105

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Re: Nov.2014 - Updated Bios of Karula, Family & Other Leopards (not drives)
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2015, 07:42:26 PM »
Thank you for researching and sharing what you've learned, BBE.  It helps to see the information in print here.   :thumbup:
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