We’re here in the Mala Mala Game Reserve of South Africa to discover the
fascinating lifestyle of the wa- whoa! Of the uhm, leopard.
Unlike their lion cousins, leopards are solitary creatures staking out turf.
About the only time they aren’t by themselves is, uh, well, I mean, what male
can resist a comely female leopard, especially one with fresh kill? While she
climbs the tree to enjoy her meal, he demonstrates that chivalry isn’t dead by
chasing off a pesky hyena. After all this, the female tries to seduce the male,
but he basically ignores her, because he knows she’s not ready to mate. And they
part company. But only temporarily. The male knows when the female is really,
really, really ready to mate, by the scent of her territorial markers. Now,
they’ll mate from 70 to 100 times a day, for four, five, or even six days! The
entire region becomes their honeymoon suite. The male roams his domain and the
female follows. Their passionate outcries unnerve some impalas, and they scatter
every which way. When their prey almost run them over, the leopard lovers switch
back into huntin g mode. Now, here’s something rare: collaboration. Two leopards
bring down the same impala. After they part ways, the female may give birth
about three months later. But with high mortality rates, a mother’s large litter
can be decimated; only two or three cubs survive. Playing a bit of
hide-and-seek, the mother might move her cubs every single day to keep lions,
hyenas, and even male leopards from eating them. At three months old, they’re
ready to take down their own prey. But it may take them two years to master this
incredible skill to the point where it’s…well, an art form.