20th December 2000
Tjololo was still in Kruger giving us a chance to prowl for other opportunities and also get shots for the “Wants List” that Dale is sending me as he progresses with the editing.
Soon after midnight Tjololo was back on Mala Mala and rested up on his southern boundary. Lightening was threatening all around and with the first drops of rain we scattered back to camp as we were close by.
The rain didn’t do much, just a soft irritating drizzle.
And so goes the last entry in my LeopardCam diary.
Tjololo was still a part of my life at Mala Mala for another 4 years. Sadly those days have come to a final end with his passing away last month.
19th December 2000
The hyaena cubs were out milling around soon after sunset. We’re still a little battled as to what happened to the other 2 cubs. Been no sign of them for some time now. It’s possible they’ve been moved to another den, but this is unlikely as hyaenas tend to use the same den. It’s also odd that no other hyaenas are coming to the den except the mother of the 2 cubs. We probably need to spend more time there to see what it’s all about.
Once the cubs had suckled we left and found Tjololo near his kill panting away and hugely well fed. That was him out for the rest of the night and at dawn after finishing the carcass he headed east into Kruger.
18th December 2000
Temperatures are soaring, 36 degrees C, and the rain still stays away. The bush is still very green and grass very long but at least it’s dry that we can get around wherever Tjololo goes, although in the next few days I think we can expect a major storm.
Still well fed Tjololo was lying up on Kapen Rocks. He did eventually move east. Picking up the scent of another leopard he was calling, meowing and chuffling moving back and forth on the scent trail. I expect it was the scent of the White Cloth female and her cubs.
Tjololo eventually gave up and headed on east. Lining up on 2 young male impala he wasn’t able to stalk the last few meters as he ran out of cover. With the impala standing there chewing the cud Tjololo lay down and waited. But after some 10 minutes he lost his nerve and dashed in. The impala were quick off the mark and got away until in the panic of the moment one of them crashed through a bush. Tjololo was quick to take advantage of its mistake and soon had killed it. He treed it down in a donga.
Already well fed he had a few mouthfuls and rested up in the donga for the rest of the night.
17th December 2000
We eventually picked up on Tjololo on his way north again in the Sand river doing his usual boundary patrol. He was a little lean and later in the night headed east hunting.
A young duiker was on offer on the menu and with one pounce Tjololo was onto it. He then proceeded to make sure he consumed the whole carcass at one sitting. His full belly this time didn’t lay him low and he continued on his boundary patrol north.
Soon after sunrise after having reached his northern extremities he moved on southeast. Suddenly he fell to the ground. 3 lionesses were ambushing him on three sides. Taking no chances and making a fast discussion he took the gap and sped out of there. The lions didn’t follow.
16th December 2000
With no sleep after yesterday’s extended day, we headed out in the afternoon and after several more interviews were back at camp early to try and recover ourselves.
At dawn we were out early and had signs of Tjololo at Rocky Crossing. We didn’t follow up on him and spent some time filming and appreciating the great sunrise before returning to camp.
With the film crew leaving in a few days we are working at getting as much material of me working as possible.
We only got to Tjololo a while after sunset as he headed on his way east across the middle of his territory.
He was very concentrated in his mission marking his territory and only once briefly ventured off course to follow up on a duiker, which took off before he even spotted it. Soon after midnight Tjololo was in Kruger and out of our clutches. We were all rather happy with this move as it allowed us some time to catch up on much needed sleep.
At dawn with clear skies for a change we headed north to shoot from the top of Campbell Koppies some material of me driving around. On the way we encountered a large herd of some 300 buffalo and worked with them a while.
After all the shooting we only got back to base around 13h00. A truly long night.