Electra – A leopards story so far…

Electra, a female leopard in the Okonjima Nature Reserve has featured over the years in many of the newsletters on the AfriCat website.

Always keeping us on our toes and surprising us over the years, her story is full of times of happiness and sadness and survival in the Namibian bush.

Electra was collared in the 20,000 ha Okonjima Nature Reserve on 7 May 2010, for tracking and research purposes. In the beginning she was skittish, shy of people and cars, and the guides hardly ever saw her. It was only in January 2013, since found mating with TJ and Nkosi, that Electra started to relax a bit. It could have been because both these males were so comfortable around vehicles.

Electra has given birth to many cubs over the years. Unfortunately most have not survived. In April and May 2013, in the first week of August she gave birth to her first two cubs. It was our lucky guide Gideon Lisara, who caught a first glimpse of Electra and one of the cubs on 13 August. They were lying in a gully covered with thick bush, just south of the Okonjima Villa. The cub was so small that its eyes were still closed. Leopard cubs are born blind weighing only 0.45 kg (one pound) and open their eyes at around 10 days. Newborn leopards are extremely vulnerable and rely entirely on their mothers for nourishment and protection.

Electra, with her present cub, has provided 112 wonderful sightings for Okonjima guides and guests alike. The cub is now about six months old. Electra is often seen with Mawenzi, the resident male leopard in the area, suggesting that he is the sire of her offspring. We are crossing our fingers that this little one will survive the many dangers of the wild and will grow into a strong and beautiful male leopard.

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