Jao Camp’s famous leopard supermodel, Beauty, has given birth to another litter of cubs! Visit Jao Camp in Botswana and hopefully sneak a peek at Beauty and her new cubs on our Ultimate Botswana Safari. Yesterday, while on early morning activity, she was observed crossing the Jao Bridge on her way off the island. After being trailed by one of the Jao guides for approximately 20 minutes she lay down in some thick brush. A short while later she stood up, turned in circles, and lay down again. A few minutes later, soft mewing sounds could be heard and we then knew for sure that she had just given birth to at least one cub.
Once it was established that she was in the process of giving birth, all vehicles backed off immediately to give her space and freedom to do what is necessary for the best chance of survival for her cubs.
The gestation period of leopards is between 90 – 100 days, and she is spot on for her due date. Around the third week of August, she was viewed copulating with a resident male that we have named Pink Nose. He is a very shy male that is seldom seen, but he has a particularly pink nose that is very recognizable.
Beauty, as a single parent, will have to be extremely protective and cautious over the next couple of months. Other predators such as spotted hyaena will find the cubs if she is not vigilant, but she is an experienced mother and has successfully raised a number of litters over the past years – the most famous and recent cub being Motsumi – a beautiful male (bottom left with Beauty) that left Jao Island and its surrounds to make his own way in life in August. It was shortly after this that Beauty started “advertising” for a male by calling and scent-marking her area.
Over the next couple of days and weeks, we will all be keeping our distance while monitoring for further news. These are crucial and very dangerous times for young leopards and their mothers, and no interference or harassment of this young family can or will be tolerated.