Madiphala, one of our first habituated leopards at Xigera, is in her 13th year. She has successfully raised a succession of female cubs which all inhabit the Xigera area. At the beginning of last year, she had a pair of cubs and the young male cub is exploring the delta, making his way towards adulthood. This is a brief summary of all our leopards and some pictures of our most recent sightings.
Two of Madiphala's oldest cubs are called Sophie and Boitumelo. We have not seen Sophie for sometime but her territory is the northeast of the lodge in an area we seldom get to travel to. As the flood comes into the Okavango this year, she may move further west and we will see more of her.
Boitumelo has two cubs and last year, we were astounded by her behaviour. Despite being quite shy, she moved her two newborn cubs into the safety of our unfinished Room 2 at Xigera between Christmas and New Year. At night, she would feed them and hunt during the day. When the new year approached and the builders returned to site, I became increasingly concerned for their safety. Fortunately, Boitumelo moved them out on cue and is now raising them safely, east of the lodge.
Mothalepula is our lodge leopard and one of our superstars. When Xigera opens, she will often be seen crossing the bridge into the lodge. She is a spectacular leopard, and is very relaxed and playful around our vehicles. We are hoping she will mate soon and produce some cubs, which would be wonderful for our guests in the lodge. Look out for her when you visit Xigera.
Our beloved Maorotwa, has a territory to the south of the lodge. She has the same disposition as her older sister and is a joy to find at any time. She is a small leopard but is exquisitely beautiful with lovely markings. She punches way above her weight in the hunting stakes; last year she was found with sitatunga kill.
Tshameko, our newest cub, is the playful one. She came as a surprise to us all, as we predicted that Madiphala had finished breeding, so we were all delighted when Tshameko was born. We have seen her recently and she is growing up in the same manner of her sisters. She has some time with her mother but will become more and more solitary as time passes. We look forward to many years ahead of great sightings.
This is the legacy of one habituated female, Madiphala. She produced a succession of female cubs and their territories are all in the vicinity of the lodge at Xigera, which increases our chances of a truly great sighting of this most spectacular cat.