Monday, September 17, 2018

Leaping Leopards. An encounter on a game drive from Imbali Safari Lodge

06h30...
and my game drive from Imbali Safari Lodge
 had been going for about an hour.
My wife is not a morning person and usually chooses to sleep in
and look at my images over breakfast.
Boy, did she turn out to be upset after THIS missed drive...

Up to this point it had been an uneventful and quiet drive, 
with not much exciting to see except the ubiquitous Impala.
I believe that the numerous Impala are put into various reserves for one reason only...
Just so that guests cannot say "We saw nothing on our drive"!
But I digress...

"We have had confirmation of a leopards
 and they are not too far away"said our guide.
We headed off in their direction to see if we too could be part of the sighting.
"Here I come, ready or not".
Is what this young female leopard seems to be insinuating.
We had actually heard this pair before we saw them.

"Look at me...I am stunning".
Being coquettish is part of the foreplay of the mating ritual 
for most cat species.
Seeing that copulation normally takes place
 over the course of a five day period,
females HAVE to keep the males engaged.

This is the male going
"What the heck just occurred"?
It was certainly not his first mating experience,
but it was hers.

Between "rounds" she was constantly marking her territory.
This is done so that the male is aware that she is in oestrus
and is ready to mate. 

"Oh come ON"!!!
"Play with me"...

Mating can be very dangerous for both cats
and there is a LOT of noise involved.
The males tend to grasp their mate just behind the head,
to control her during penetration.
Although it looks"rough",
there is more noise and saliva than blood.

"One more time"...
Mating takes places almost every 20 minutes over a period of about 4-5 days.
Each act only takes a few seconds but is accompanied by MUCH vocalization.
This extended mating is as a result of weak sperm count.
The female will continue to produce eggs to ensure fertilization
This was a first for both this female and me...
her first mating and my getting to experience this first hand.

"I am watching you...
It ain't over till I say that it is"
There is evidence that females are able to tell
 which are the dominate males in the territory.
The reason is to enable the chances of her cubs survival
They can also mate with multiple males to reduce the chances of infanticide.

"Is it over yet"?
As we discovered, this was possibly day 3,
so he still had a couple of days to endure.

"Time for ME to assert my dominance"
The mortality rate for cubs is very high, around 40%,
with most deaths being caused by males who are not the biological fathers.

THIS is how you get off without getting bitten.
We stayed for approximately 35 minutes,
before deciding that we should leave them to their privacy.
We did look for them on two subsequent drives,
but were unable to locate them.
A truly memorable experience for all concerned.



 
To find out more about the Lodge and what it offer,
visit their website:
 

My camera brand of choice for more than 4 decades!
Photo:

Photo:
When it is time to print out my special images,
this is the company that I rely on to do that.

A new clothing sponsor has come on board...
Welcome to Kallie Khaki.
Bush gear to make me blend in...
in comfort and style.

I have worn these shoes in the jungles of India
and on the beaches of Croatia.
Not to mention, many game reserves in Africa.
They are probably the most comfortable pair of shoes
that I have ever owned.

Photo:
When I get home. I rely on this ISP
to provide me with high speed fibre connectivity 
to enable me to get my postings published in record time.

Photo:
This powerbank is my constant companion
 while I am travelling.
It can do up to 4 full re-charges of my phone before
needing to be charged.
Supplied by...


When offered an option...
ALWAYS be Batman.
This time he was standing at the foot of a Baobab Tree,
estimated to be between 800-1000 years old!
The newest of my travelling companions.
To find out more about the collectible Funko range of figurines,
visit:

My new addition, this awesome laptop bag from Solo.
Padded for protection and with enough pockets to keep
almost everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink in,
this is definitely an stylish addition to any business presentation.
Be it in the boardroom or the bush.
This bag can also be worn as a backpack. 
There are straps in a hidden compartment that can be deployed
when you need both hands for other purposes.
To find out more about the stylish Solo range,
visit:


A new "tool" in my camera bag.
This locally made product was indispensable when using a long lens.
The ball and socket might look simple...and it is, 
which is why it should be in the gear bag of every serious photographer.
This locally made, deceptively simple device is ideal 
for tracking birds in flight or animals in motion.
The base can be used on a beanbag or a tripod,
with the ball being fitted to the camera.
The simplicity of the device allows to to move from supported
to hand held in a fluid motion.
There is also a version that can be used on a car window.
To see more about the product, 
visit their Facebook page:
Or order directly from:





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and may not be used without permission

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