Mating Leopards…AGAIN? 

Mating Leopards…AGAIN? 

Sara • 04/03/2024


This is starting to get a little ridiculous. Mating leopards is a rare sighting yet our dominant male leopard from the east of our reserve is making a habit of it. After our awesome sighting with the lonely leopard the night before we knew that something was up. I explained in the last post that the female had been calling for a couple of days and we suspected that she might be trying to attract the dominant male as she had come into oestrus and we were right. The next evening we found the two of them right at the entrance to Selati Lodge no more than 50 metres from the reception and they were in the full act of making leopard cubs. 

We followed them as the moved up the road, him stopping briefly to scent mark just in case another male thought he might have a chance. Male leopards have territory that will generally encompass that of about 3 to 4 females, which he will then mate with and his paternal duties will extend almost exclusively to guarding this territory. Why I say that it is a paternal duty to guard his territory is because if any other male were to enter that territory and find his cubs, he will kill those cubs. The aim of this murder is to then bring the female back into oestrus so that he can then spread his genetics.  

This male has become somewhat of a legend at Sabi Sabi as well as our bordering reserves as he has mated with 8 different females in the area, 3 of which have been on our reserve, in the space 3 months, which is double the amount of the normal textbook leopard. This boy must have some serious strength to be able to maintain a territory this large and it could pose a problem for him and his cubs later as it seems to me that it would be very difficult to patrol a territory this large without having some intruders picking off your offspring.  

We watched as their pace moved in waves mating every 2 to 3 minutes for a while then resting for about 15 minutes before the female again placed herself provocatively in front of him asking him to go again. The female is the instigator, as she does not want to waste her opportunity to conceive. It was a fantastic sighting and one which neither myself nor the guests will forget in hurry. Only 110 days before her cubs will be born blind and helpless. Exciting times ahead!