Sunday, August 23, 2009

Olive's riddle

Olive mating with Rhino Ridge male

Olive and the male

Olive, the Mara female leopard is now mating, a few days after she is seen with small cubs on the Talek river. She was first seen on 27th July carrying a small cub at the Olare-Orok river crossing. The cubs were not seen after that, but Olive kept being seen around that location for a while. She was again seen on 15th August carrying a cub on the Talek River Bank where she proceeded to hide it in a hole under a tree on the bank of the river. After a few minutes she went back and brought a second cub. She then continued to be seen in the area until 19th August when she moved upstream of Olare-Orok river.

On the morning of the 21st August, she was seen at the double crossing area mating with Rhino ridge male. There was also an unidentified female in the vicinity. In the evening when I went there, the two were mating, sometimes in the open. This was my second time in my 17 years of guiding to see mating leopards clearly. When it was getting late they moved to the adjacent stream, where they got into a bush. At this time another female leopard emerged from the bush and Olive ran away. It was getting dark and I could not tell what happened again. However they were at it again the following day.

This morning I saw them at the smelly crossing heading to the location of the cubs. We now wonder whether the cubs are indeed still alive and if they are, what is going to happen when the male sees them.
The territory where the cubs are belongs to another big male leopard called Big Boy. I believe, when Olive disappeared briefly earlier in the year, she must have mated and conceived from the Rhino ridge male because when she final appeared, she was coming from the direction where this male normally stays. And if this is the case, the current development could be a bid to lure him closer to the cubs so that he protects them. while this is happening, a guide reported seeing the cubsOtherwise I remain to observe what will happen.


jackaranda said...

Great write up - Wonderful experience for you to see them so clearing and mating. Thanks for posting fabulous photographs. I have loved my visits to the Talel river to see the leopards.

chuishah said...

Hi Paul, what a fab update. Really wish I was there. Very rare to see them mating, great pics. Fingers crossed about the cubs, hope it is a happy outcome.