The New Year has started off very well in the bushveld. On 11 December 2019, our resident female leopard gave birth to two tiny cubs at the lodge. She moved them to another den soon afterwards.
After a few weeks of allowing the cubs to settle in to their new environment, I made my way to see if I could strike it lucky and see the cubs.
I found mom resting casually around the rocks at the entrance to the den. After a few minutes she started to get restless. Restless in a way I had not seen before. She started calling for the cubs. Then it happened.
One of the little ones peaked its head out from the safety of the den. Then it walked across a set of rocks towards mom. Basile kept calling for the second cub, but it seemed too nervous to come out. This was the first time that we noticed the cubs walking around unassisted. Mom did not want to wait around so she started to walk with the first cub.
As the two leopards made their way down the dry river bed, the other cub started screaming and crying frantically. Basile stopped, looked back and called for the cub left behind. It was evident now that she was moving den sites again.
Basile could not let the remaining cub make so much noise so she turned around and went back to fetch the other one.
The first cub was just as eager to fetch its sibling as mom was. The little one scurried up the rock and begged the other one to come with.
A short while later the other cub, still acting very shy and coy, made its appearance. The two siblings greeted each other playfully. Mom wasted no time and called them both to the riverbed. She continued walking and the cubs followed suit.
Basile has moved the cubs to a nearby hill with ample vegetation and rocks that the cubs can use as cover. I look forward to my next meeting with these adorable cubs.