Animals however are blessed with a narrow mindedness that we will never be able to fully appreciate. Their life is simplistic: find food for yourself; find food for your cubs and protect them from the dangers that lurk in the African bush. We have no idea how strongly animals feel loss but it is something that every leopardess will have to learn. With mortality rates as high as 80% in some areas, the chances of raising one cub to maturity is slim, but a leopard’s biology means that she will never give up until her final breath escapes her beautiful body.
Xikavi is stunning leopard from the western sector of the Sabi Sands and she is in the midst of this eternal struggle as we speak. I have been fortunate enough to follow her progress over the last few months thanks to frequent visits to the area and have experienced both heartache and loss watching her try to provide for her new family. Around 4 months ago, Xikavi introduced us to her 2 beautiful cubs. Alas, 2 quickly became 1 due to what we believe to be a snake bite. I was privy to witness a heartbreaking scene about 3 months ago when we followed her to her den site where she found 1 happy cub eager for her return, and 1 lifeless body. Her attempts to revive her lost cub were in vain and we watched in heart-breaking sympathy as its sibling nuzzled and nudged its former companion trying to understand its motionless.