Friday, 18 March 2011

Karula's family tree - Her choice of mate - part one

Hi everyone,

Karula is still playing hide and seek with us for the time being, staying over in the West towards Arathusa and Elephant Plains. But seems as Marc was lucky enough to find her preferred mate recently, I thought we would focus on the handsome, but elusive, male Yambilu-Jordaan. As I started to write this I have realised there is so much to this male to discuss so instead of trying to condense it. I thought he deserved to have a couple of Blogs written about him!

Yambilu-Jordaan was originally known as the Jordaan's male as he would be found around Jordaan's Dam. The Yambilu part is Shangaan for heart due to the distinctive heart shape on his forehead.

Not much is known about this elusive cat. It is thought he was born around 2002, but his parentage is unknown and there is only speculation to his siblings. Some say he is the brother of the Beacon female and he may have sired her cubs Rupert and the female, who we see occasionally in the North, Inkanyeni in 2005.
What we do know is he is shy around the vehicles, although he seems to be getting better!


How does he fit into Karula's life? He seems to have been the mate of her choice for the last 2 litters. It is thought Mafufunyane could have sired the first litter though. The Lady of Djuma has the possibility of mating with 3 territory holders. Mafufunyane, also thought to be her father, patrols the South, Mvula who patrols in the East and Yambilu-Jordaan. WE have been fortunate to find him in a few different places mainly in the Northern half of our traversing area, from Galago short cut in the West and Gowrie Dam to Bateleur road and Buffelshoek Dam in the East. There can also be nomadic toms that pass through the territories of these males even though we haven't seen any, they could be keeping a low profile!


There are a couple of distinguishing features on this rarely seen male. The most prominent mark is his name sake, the heart shape on his forehead, as you can see in the picture above. You may also notice above both eyes it is very pale and the 2 vertical lines above the eyes, that are present in most Sabi sands leopards, are very pale too. Over the right eye he shares the semi circle of spots with his probable son, Induna.

On the picture below you can see the long vertical black mark next to his left eye and there is also a semi circle of spots above the left eye.


Thanks again to everyone sending in these great pictures of him and to Karen and Collen for collecting the information about this stunning leopard. 

Written by Tara


  1. I must count myself very fortunate to have seen both Karula and Induna during the 5 days that I was lucky enough to be able to watch Safari. Since that time, my screen has been black without any explanation and I've been unable to restore the picture regardless of any effort and help from anyone. Am devastated.
    You are both fantasti cats, Karula and Induna!!
    marlies mcdonald

  2. I love reading these blogs about the leopards! I've not been here since the beginning and am really finding these helpful in understanding the dynamics. Thank you Tara!