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Karula’s family tree – Her son Induna – part 2

Induna after a successful hunt by the lodge.

Hi everyone,

As the end draws closer I think it is only right to finish what I started and that was Karula’s family tree. The last blog looked at Induna and how to identify him, in this one we have a look at his personality! He was doted on by his mother more so than Mixo was and I think that does have a lot to do with him not leaving home yet! While Mixo left about 6 months ago, Induna, thankfully for us, has remained here. He seems to have gone searching other areas close to home, but decided mother’s territory is best!

Induna on the left and his mother Karula on the right!

He is really starting to come of age, having made some impressive kills of his own, one of which was a kudu calf a few months ago, which must have weighed the same as him if not slightly larger. I think once he is fully grown he is going to be a force to be reckoned with for sure! I think he has struggled in the past to tree his kills and because of this, he has lost a number to his nemesis, the hyena. He doesn’t mess around with them, it is straight up the tree at first sign of the distant relative approaching.

Now he is 3 years old and gaining muscle he has been protecting his meals in a tree more readily. I do not doubt he tries his luck for a free meal, as I think he has done a few times in the past with both his mother and father, but I think he is gaining more confidence in his own hunting too!

Xivambalana on the left with Induna on the right.

The incredible interaction between him and his siblings, albeit under supervision of either parent, is something quite amazing! Sadly I missed the drive with Marc where Xivindzi took an interest in her brother from her vantage point and proceeded to climb down, walk up to him and tap him on the nose! I can’t believe we had the privilege of seeing him with both cubs a few months later! His sister came to say hello, but he was not overly welcoming, his younger brother was so intrigued by him, it took a lot of snarling from Induna to stop him from following! At one point he did look like he might entertain the idea of play but another growl signaled that idea was short lived, if it was true!

Collage of the boys, Mixo and Induna!

One of his nicknames is “fumble paws!” This, sadly to say, is quite accurate! I am told from word go he was constantly moving his mother’s kill around in the tree, so much so he often dropped it! After watching him now with his kills, I wonder if it is purely because he finds it uncomfortable to feed on while in the tree and prefers to eat on the ground. We have seen recently on a couple of occasions where a kill is lodged in the tree and brought down to feed on, then placed back in the tree again! Either that or he enjoys the exercise!

The only picture I got of the boys playing!

He has certainly shared a few more mysteries about his character with us by staying here and has helped to answer those hard questions I remember having when the cubs were so young, about what he is likely to do if he ever met them and will Karula allow him to meet them! Not only this, he has opened our eyes to more of the rarely witnessed leopard behaviours. One of the sightings that I will always remember was him playing cat and mouse with a baby monkey. It was so heart wrenching to watch, but it was still part of his own learning process, practicing and perfecting his skills, understanding how this potential prey moves and reacts. I think that day we all routed for the monkey though.

He seemed to be closer to his brother Mixo, than Xivindzi and Xivambalana seem to be! They were still playing with each other even when I arrived in March, which would make them around a year and 4 months of age. I remember the first time I was on camera with them casing each other in the drainage line on Weaver’s nest and hyenas bursting in on them, forcing them to climb out of harms way rapidly!

The day the hyenas chased Induna and Mixo on weaver’s nest road!

They parted company when they were much older, over a year and half at least, but I remember the day we saw them sitting with each other on Philamon’s cutline in the early morning rays. Induna got up and walked off and we followed Mixo. That was the day we sat over some bone fragments he wanted to inspect and came within cm’s of Marc’s foot!

“Brotherly love!” Induna on the left, Mixo on the right

This was the last time I can remember seeing the boys together, although we saw them for a while afterwards, it was always without the other. They did come together briefly on the open area when they were around 2 years of age, but this time there was an invisible barrier between them. Neither growled or bared teeth, nor was there nuzzling or playing; the boys had grown up.

The day they found a snake skin! Induna on the left and Mixo on the right!

I will miss our special family deeply and hope to return someday, if at the very least to catch up on what Karula and her family have been up too, but if ideas work into becoming reality, I hope it will turn out to be for a little longer than a quick hello! I will keep you all posted, but as yet it is only ideas that need to be built on and everything is still up in the air!

Thank you once again for the pictures and this time I added a few of my own memories too!

Written by Tara

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5 Responses to Karula’s family tree – Her son Induna – part 2

  1. Carol Yonts November 24, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    A wonderful write up and fitting of a regal family. I regret I didn’t get to know Induna or Mixo as well as I would have hoped but the insight and stories I have read have made me fall in love with them each and every time. Tara, thank you for your love of life and the animals. Thank you Djuma for the opportunity you gave us to see these wonderful animals. They will be treasured memories always!

  2. Chris November 24, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    As ever Tara, you bring me hope. You and the “boys” have been a light in my life for a couple of years that I will never ever forget. Shine on sweet Tara; sharing your tales of the bush. We *will* meet up again. Much love to our brilliant “cast”; all of them.

  3. jody morrison November 25, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    Oh Tara…..we can always hope. I find I am not content with memories. Perhaps in time I will see pics of “our family” and not be sad but that time is not now. It would give me and so many others the greatest joy if you can work out how to do leopard studies. I (and I’m sure many others) would be thrilled to help this come to fruition in whatever ways we can. You, Marc, and the drives themselves have snuck quietly into our hearts and lodged in there. As this chapter ends, I feel like you all have been ripped out. I KNOW that I will feel much better tomorrow and can start looking at the new day, but for now, just know how deeply you, Marc, the leopards and everything connected to the drives have affected me. Blessings to you

  4. BETZ November 25, 2011 at 8:25 am #


  5. MJ Bradley November 29, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    Thank you for your final chapter in the Karula tree. I hope one day we will see pages for Xivindzi and Xivambalana. I wish you well in whatever journey life takes you on. We were so very privilaged to be able to share these adventures in the bush of Djuma. All will live on in our hears and memories. Until we can make it a reality again.
    Thank You All
    from the bottom of our hearts.

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