Meet Thlangisa and her cubs

As you move along the northern section of the infamous, tree lined Sand River and a small section to the south there of, it is worth keeping your eye out for “The Playful One”.

One of the most relaxed female leopards that I have ever encountered resides in this picturesque area. Her name is Thlangisa and she was named after her immensely playful nature as a youngster.

This gorgeous female leopard was born in April 2009. Besides her age and the unique territory that she has crafted for herself, she is easily recognisable with her distinctive 3:4 spot pattern.

To date Thlangisa has produced six litters. Half of these litters have been raised successfully. The sister duo, Basile and Khokovela, is Thlangisa’s first and most well known litter. She has also raised Sasekile (eventually killed by Nyelethi) and Thlangelani (moved out of the area).

Thlangisa is at it again and is currently raising a brother and sister duo. These two little cubs are adorable and they are both stealing the show. They too have inherited their mother’s playful nature and I have not had a dull moment with them yet.

I recently enjoyed a sighting with these three leopards just after they feasted on an impala. When I arrived on the scene all I could see was full bellies and tired eyes. I sat patiently and eventually the two little ones could not resist playing around. First order of business was to take care of mom. They groomed ticks off hard to reach places and once the duty was complete, a game of tag ensued.

The cute cubs are at the age where they constantly engage in playful combat. This is one of the ways in which they learn to defend themselves. Stealthily stalking their sibling is a vital way to hone in on their hunting skills.

Mom decided that watching her offspring’s spirited antics was far too tiring so she proceeded to ascend the tree where she had stored the remains of the impala carcass.

The little ones eventually settled down and decided to climb up the tree for safety and proceeded to enjoy a much needed late morning nap.

6 Comments on “Meet Thlangisa and her cubs

  1. Oh Cal, sometimes I think you are living a dream. These wonderful photographs are the stuff of lifelong memories and it is a privilege to get to know these leopards so well. I thoroughly enjoy your updates on them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Cal,
    It’s so great to see you leopard updates.
    I remember seeing Khokovela and Basile at about 4 months old, now they have cubs on their own as well.
    Then seeing Sasekile on a tree with her mother when she was a bit more than 1y old.
    Looking forward to going back to LH 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Laszlo, lucky you to see a great deal of the offspring in person. It is really special having that kind of connection. Hope to see you back again soon.


  3. Again a magnificent blog with great pics. Thank you so much. We have visited Leopard Hills and its area for 5 times already and got to know quite a few of its leopards; it is a feast to read this blog and to also see how they are doing. It certainly keeps the connection very much alive, despite the still remaining difficulties for international/intercontinental travel. Your blogs certainly contribute to us wanting to come back and see these gorgeous big cats again. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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