Love is in the air!

Written By: Radheesh Sellamuttu (Managing Director, Leopard Trails) on March 27, 2015 Photographer : Indika Nettigama (Game Ranger, Leopard Trails)

It was just last year when I embarked on a leopard identification initiative to demonstrate to our guides the value of recognizing individuals, and it is days like this where we feel the hard work has paid off. One of the privileges of being in the wild on a daily basis and being able to identify individual leopards is to really get to know an animal and its unique character traits, and to see its development from cub to sub-adulthood to adulthood. That is exactly what Leopard Trails ranger Indika has done over the last few years. Today was perhaps graduation day for our favorite male leopard commonly known in Wilpattu as Natta! We believe we may have just captured the first instance of Natta mating at an age of approximately 3 years and 8 months. Leopard mating is a lengthy affair with mating every 15 minutes that can last for up to 5 days! It was an affair of snarls, growls and grimaces for over 2 hours before our guests were taken back to camp! It is coming to the point where Indika is developing a special bond with this Leopard given that they have been spending time together on a daily basis in recent times.

Today being the 24th of March, and in the event that the female conceives, the cubs should be born sometime in June. We will be on the lookout for the cubs come September, approximately 3 months after the birth when the mother will be more comfortable briefly exposing the cubs in broad daylight.

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  • Simba

    Amazing! It’s really nice to have found another blog that talks about leopards. I currently read the londolozi blog, and the sabi sands blog and the leopard hills blog. But it’s great to gain insight about your leopards as well.
    I wonder what are the differences between both populations?

    • Hi Simba, thank you for your comment. Sri Lanka has its own subspecies of Leopard (Panthera Pardus Kotiya). It is the top predator here and believed to be slightly larger than its African counterpart although I have never seen proof of this. I am not sure about differences in population but the density of Leopards in Yala National Park is higher than that of Londolozi. I came to this conclusion after discussing this with the guides at Londolozi to understand the size of home ranges in Londolozi. We believe the density is higher in Yala due to higher prey density and therefore leopards being more tolerant of neighbouring leopards. I do read the Londolozi blog but have not seen the leopard hills or sabi sands blog – but on your recommendation I will be sure to take a look!

      • Simba

        First of all thanks for your reply!

        I saw some time ago a documentary about your leopards, featuring a scottish guy, and it was great, it provided me with much insight about them, that’s why I loved finding your blog.

        Here are three links of the blogs I read:http://blog.malamala.com/

        http://www.sabisabi.com/blog/

        http://www.seasonsinafrica.com/lodges-in-south-africa/sabi-sand-private-game-reserve/leopard-hills-private-game-reserve/blog/

        I searched trough pictures of your leopards the other day, and from what I could notice, the males have a longer slender face, compared to londolozi leopards, like the Camp Pan Male(my personal favorite)
        I’m a bit of a loner in everything(don’t let the name and the lion fool you)so the male leopard especially is a very special animal for me.

        I hope you can make good use of the blogs, and also have fun reading them, I sure do!.
        Thanks again, and is a pleasure to chat with you.