World Wildlife Day
By Ranger, Victoria Craddock
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The South African Journal of Science
Journal of Science published a paper in 2021 stating that South Africa has lost more than 22% of its natural habitat in the last two centuries. This loss is not evenly distributed, and areas including the savanna biome have been particularly hard hit. With this in mind, we consider ourselves fortunate to provide a haven to 71 mammal species, 324 bird species, 37 reptile species, 24 amphibian species, 41 tree species and 30 grass species.
Nestled within the Greater Kruger National Park, the wilderness that is MalaMala Game Reserve has thrived under decades of protection.
In 2019, rangers viewed helplessly as the Senegal Bush male killed her 4th recorded litter, a 13-month-old male cub. In early 2020 she had a litter that was only seen a handful of times before they disappeared, and so the morbid trend continued. The litter of two born in August 2020 looked like it might succumb to the same fate when the young male vanished at four months old. But, despite the odds, the female cub had a survivor’s spirit.
Now, approaching her second birthday, this young leopard has made a success of her mother. Creating a spectacle in and around Matshapiri Open Area, the Daughter of the Island female is flaunting her newfound independence. On several occasions, rangers have watched as she has artfully hunted impala before hoisting her bounty in the trees that frame this open area.
As if her daughter’s independence is not enough to change the narrative around the Island female, rangers were delighted to find that she has a new litter of cubs! On the 18th of May, two enchanting little cubs were found nestled in between two rocks in the Hogvaal Donga.