Legadema (whose name means Lightning), the leopard star of the National Geographic documentary Eye of the Leopard, is arguably Mombo's – and Botswana's – most well-known feline, yet in her 11 or so years she has successfully raised just two cubs to maturity (Pula – Rain – and Maru – Cloud – from the same litter). Her latest cub – could this be her last? – is a feisty character who is now nearly five months old.
Colin Bell was fortunate to be at the extraordinary Mombo Camp a few weeks back just after the first rains, which in turn induced the plentiful impala herds to drop their lambs.
Colin picks up the story: “When we found Legedema, she had stashed four lamb carcasses high up and out of trouble in the thickest part of the tree resulting in the coolest shade. Mother and cub had the most extraordinary energy levels from their ample protein supply of ‘cured’ meat. We watched them for close on 18 hours over a period of four days with only an hour or so of resting in between. Most of their awake time was spent on the ground cavorting with each other and their food.
At one stage, Legadema ‘cheetah charged’ a passing impala herd some 75 metres away. There was no careful calculated stalk, no camouflaged intent, no slinking through the grasses – just one full-on, all-out sprint with her youngster doing his best to try and keep up, to no avail. Legedema then dutifully returned to their pantry with yet another lamb hanging limp in her mouth and her cub’s eyes glowing with excitement.”
While Pula has been seen mating on numerous occasions with Blue Eyes, the dominant male in the area, she has also not yet successfully raised any young. Happily Maru has though, and her cub Phefo – Wind – who is now going on for 18 months old is often seen around Stompie’s Road on the Concession.