A celebration of the leopard through Rudi Hulshof’s eyes

Posted on 4 December 2023 By Tsoku Maela

May 3 is International Leopard Day. A day we commemorate the beautiful, yet, elusive and nocturnal creatures.

Belonging to the feline family, leopards can be found in various regions including Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Russia and the Indian continent.

Unfortunately, their population is in rapid decline and they have been listed as a near threat on the IUCN list. Some key factors in the dwindling numbers include habitat loss, depletion of their prey, conflicts with humans, trophy hunting and poaching for their skin and body parts.

To celebrate them, we feature a selection of photographs by Rudi Hulsof.

The incredible leopard viewing just continues, rain or shine.
A large portion of February was wet and rainy here at Singita Lebombo Lodge, but that certainly didn’t stop us being able to still have amazing sightings this month.
On an overcast morning this past week, the Pelajambu Male was treed by 13 members of the Mananga #lion pride.
After watching them settle down about 150m away, he cautiously descended the dead Leadwood and made his safe escape, not even getting a glance from the now sleeping lions.

We are a privileged few that get to call, being in the presence of perfection, on a daily basis – Work. The Dumbana 3:3 male leopard and his brother are still providing us with spectacular insights into the life of a leopard as they continue to grow up and mature here at Singita Lebombo. Their mother, the Dumbana female, with whom ties were severed in October last year already, was seen yesterday with at least one cub as she moved den sites. We hope the new additions to our leopard population will grow up to pose just as beautifully as this guy did this morning.

Just like when you ask someone to smile for the camera and they paste this expression on their face. One of Nhlanguleni Female leopard daughters a few weeks back woke up from a nap and was in the process of yawning. This leopard and her sister have not been seen for a while, not because we think they have vanished, but simply being hidden in the long grass of summer here at Singita Lebombo Lodge.

I warned yesterday of the probable plethora of #leopard images I would end up posting from a memorable sighting I had yesterday morning here at Singita Lebombo Lodge. This is the next, but certainly not the last photograph, capturing moments from a great morning spent on safari in South Africa’s flagship safari and wilderness destination; the Kruger National Park.

For regular safari enthusiasts to the #greaterkrugernationalpark and the lodges that surround the national park, seeing leopards in trees is not too uncommon. By far the most common tree to see a leopard lying in is a Marula tree. We have a very low density of Marula trees here at Singita Lebombo, but our large number of both living and dead Leadwood trees more than make up for safe zones where the cats can stash and protect kills, along with using the leafless trees to scan the vast open grassland plains in search of prey or competition.

The antics of the two young Dumbana male leopards are a never-ending source of entertainment here at Singita Lebombo Lodge in Kruger National Park. This is the 1:1 spot pattern pale male #leopard with the blue eyes.

It really has been an epic week here at Singita Lebombo Lodge. Kruger National Park never stops providing us with incredible opportunities to observe animal behaviour in the most beautiful wilderness settings. The Dumbana Female #leopard and an as-yet-unnamed male leopard mated countless times on a rocky outcrop on one of the Lebombo Mountain ridges that run through the concession. Let’s hope that in a few months from now, we will be fortunate enough to have new leopard cubs on the concession to observe growing up.

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