The Tiyani leopardess and her daughter Laluka
Tiyani – derived from the Shangaan word for Strong One – was born in May 2015 west of Arathusa Safari Lodge to the Salayexe female, and was sired by Tingana. She is one of the successful female leopards in our area as she has raised two offspring – Ndzutini and Laluka – to adulthood. Ndzutini (born in December 2018) is fully independent, and Laluka (born in May 2021) is now heading in the same direction.
As leopards are solitary animals, they will move away from their mother as they reach maturity. It is Laluka’s turn to find her own territory, and Tiyani is showing signs of progressively pushing her away. However, this process takes a little time, and young cats will lurk around the periphery of their maternal territory for as long as possible until they are successful in finding their own.
Interestingly, Tiyani has recently been seen mating with the Tortoise Pan male in the northern sector of the Sabi Sand Reserve. Usually female leopards will only go in search of males to mate after chasing ALL other leopards out of their territory – including their offspring – so we thought that Tiyani had already extricated Laluka. This was proven wrong when we saw mother and daughter together again shortly after. Needless to say, this is fairly unusual behaviour for these cats.
History is indeed repeating itself. Tiyani’s mother, Salayexe, chased Tiyani out of this very territory some time ago. But after her death, Tiyani returned and resumed control. We are expecting some sort of change to happen soon. Whether that be Laluka leaving, or Tiyana sacrificing her home space to her daughter – only time will tell…
We are confident that Laluka will be a successful mother too, following in Tiyani’s footsteps. We have already seen her hunt on her own. The first time, her prey was a monkey and her mother was with her. This is not an easy quest – particularly for a female leopard – but they did it! The second time she was after a monkey again, but was alone (Tiyani was on a hunt of her own). Laluka managed to catch the wily primate, and devoured her own hard-earned meal. The third time we found her in a similar area, but the object of her desire was a cane rat in the thick of the bush. Again, not an easy target, but she did an amazing job.
This young beauty has already grown to be a strong and independent female in her own right – thanks to Tiyani’s outstanding job in raising her – and we eagerly watch as the leopard dynamics change over the coming months.
The pressing question is, who will ultimately be left with the reigns over this territory?
Watch this space…
Until next time,