Our luck of the previous days remained with us and shortly after leaving the Lodge we found the mother leopard with her cub … the same pair that we have seen every day. We thought that we were in for a fantastic morning especially when the mother leopard spotted a Duiker and dashed after it. But unfortunately for us, the mother leopard then did what leopards do so often – a disappearing act into thick bush.
We persisted, and tracked the leopard through difficult terrain – and luck favoured us again. But by the time we found them, the mother and her cub were close to a neighbouring Lodge that they decided to visit, and we were not able to follow them. We circled around the Lodge, but there was no sign of the two cats.
When we received a notification about another female leopard we went to find her instead. She felt very miserable, and we could see by her demeanour that all was definitely not well with this cat. Then we saw that her right front leg was markedly lame, and walking was extremely uncomfortable. We were not sure what caused the problem, but when the leopard settled down to sleep we realised that the best would be to leave her in peace.
After a quick check to see if the mother leopard with her cub had emerged from the Lodge they visited, and finding that we could not even find any tracks, we returned to the Elephant Plains Lodge.
Our afternoon drive started back at the neighbouring Lodge, but as there was still no sign of the two leopards, we returned to the injured leopard. We found her looking quite a bit better. She stood on a termite mound and called and called. It could be that she was interested in mating again as she recently lost her young cub and maybe motherhood beckoned again. She didn’t move around much, but she groomed herself a little, and called repeatedly. So hopefully things are looking up for her.
We remained with the female leopard until dark, when she got up and moved a little more easily, and less gingerly away into the inky darkness.
In the morning we will decide which of the leopards to catch up with first …