It is always exciting to download the memory cards from our camera traps - we go through the photos in great anticipation; always hoping that a spotted cat would pop up on our laptop screen. Imagine the thrill when you don't just see one leopard, but three on a single image! The chances of capturing a leopardess with cubs on camera is very slight indeed, but the Wemmershoek females have treated us to this rare sight yet again!
BF1 (the first female identified by the Boland Project, and adopted by Leopard's Leap Wines) had twin cubs last year (see here). We obtained pictures of her with the cubs from April until December 2010, and in September 2011 we recorded a picture of the one cub, now fully grown, in a part of BF1's territory (a female leopard will sometimes yield a part of her territory to a female offspring, but males have to move off and find themselves new territory). She seems to have raised both cubs successfully, which is encouraging since it leopard cub mortality is generally high. And now BF1 has done it again - when we recently downloaded the memory cards from the Wemmershoek cameras, we got this stunning picture of BF1 with a new litter of twin cubs!! We hope to see these two cubs grow up to be strong, healthy young cats, just like we did their siblings!
The other female in the Wemmershoek area, Lyla (BF3), also has a cub -carefully inspect the picture below!
This cub seems a little bit older than BF1's cubs, and we hope to be seeing a lot more of this little guy (or girl) in the future. Young leopards are not that easy to sex from camera trap photographs.
Both BF1 and BF3's ranges overlap with the resident Wemmershoek male, BM4 (also adopted by Leopard's Leap Wines), so it is possible that he has sired both these females' offspring.
Jeannie & Anita