The Queen of Fish Eagle Lagoon
Over the past few weeks we have started a weekly Big Cat Roundup blog to give an over view of all the lion and leopard activities in the area. We are starting to see a very clear picture of territory battle over an area known as Fish Eagle Lagoon , between two Leopards, Malaika and her daughter and her daughter Chiphadzua.
Female leopards are known to be philopatric towards their daughters, which means a female will sacrifice part of her territory so her daughter has an area that she can make her own before she can fight off any competition and begin to expand her area. Undoubtedly this leads to some overlap between related females and while the one party is still young, the older leopard will tolerate it to a certain point. Malaika and Chiphadzua are currently both occupying an excellent hunting ground, Fish Eagle Lagoon, and by the looks of it Malaika is trying to send a clear message to her daughter that she is old enough to leave home now.
(The large female Malaika on morning patrol)
Recently Patrick was on his morning drive with his guests when he spotted Malaika walking along the top bank of the lagoon scent marking her territory as she went along. On the opposite side of the lagoon and quite a far distance away some alarm calling Puku caught Malaika’s attention and as she scanned the far bank she picked up on her daughter moving away from the Puku after a failed hunting attempt. Without a moments consideration Malaika took off at a fast pace running across the Lagoon making a straight line towards the young Chiphadzua. As soon as the young leopardess saw her mom barreling straight towards her, she ran up the closet tree but Malaika went straight up after her.
(The Young Chiphadzuwa keeping a close eye on mom below)
Chiphadzuwa climbed to the thinner branches towards the top of the tree where Malaika could not go as these branches could not support her weight. Malaika descended the tree and wait for her daughter knowing that her daughter would need to climb down eventually.
After quite some time, Chiphadzuwa climbed down to the ground and immediately Malaika attacked, through all the dust our guides and guests said the leopards seemed pretty evenly matched and Chiphadzuwa even had the upper hand at some points of the altercation. The leopards soon split up and went their separate ways. But we can see Malaika is sending a clear warning to her daughter that she still sees herself as the Queen of Fish Eagle Lagoon.