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Meet Xivindzi and Xivambalana

 Xivindzi on AM safari 13 Oct 

Hi everyone!

It is great to be back! What a great start to the drives this cycle with a visit from 5 gentle bull elephants and Xivindzi. Now 11 months old, she really has the look of her mother and a personality to match!

Xivindzi 13 Oct

A few people said they weren’t sure how to recognise the cubs, so I thought what better way to start the cycle than to introduce Karula’s latest family members! Here are a few ways I find useful to id them, I hope it helps!

Xivindzi, which means bold, is Karula’s daughter and she does seem ready for action. You would pronounce it as Shi-vind-zze. She is already becoming highly independent and alert to everything happening around her!


Xivindzi and arrows to help id her left side.

The arrow on her forehead highlights how close the WOW is to being complete like her mum! The lines under this are at different angles, if you look below on her brother his are much more uniform underneath each other.

The red arrow points to her eye, if you look closely a single line is there which is vertical. Her brother almost shares the “Y” with his brother Mixo, which is horizontal from the eye.  Although Xivindzi also has a vertical line in the same place on her right side, it is much thicker and Xivambalana only has a single horizontal line from his right eye, not a Y. (See the pictures below)

 The easiest way I tell them apart at the moment is the marks above the whisker line, look at the lowest arrow. Xivindzi has two dots above each other and a ^ on both sides, her brother Xivambalana has two large spots side by side above his whisker line.

Xivambalana and arrows to id his left side

Xivambalana means emerald spotted wood dove, on account of his shy nature. I don’t see this as a bad thing, he ers on the side of caution, especially when it comes to confrontation and this might just save his life one day! For me the bird is not bold or flashy, but if you look closely there are hidden gems and I think this sums up this little boy perfectly! You would pronounce his name as Shi-vam-ba-lan-a.

If you are new to leopard identification it is good to have a couple of things to look for on each animal. We also use the face for id a lot as that is the part we look at the most! It is possible to id a leopard from other parts of the body and tail too! The spots are rarely symmetrical so it is best to have both sides of the individual.


Here are the right sides of the cubs, you might see a unique pattern I have missed!

Xivambalana, I took this 6 Sept.

Thank you to everyone for the pictures that were sent in from today’s drive and for those I could re-use from previous Blogs!

Written by Tara



4 Responses to Meet Xivindzi and Xivambalana

  1. Glynis Bowie October 13, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    Fabulous Tara, thanks. She is also much darker than he is at the moment. Unfortunately they never seem to look at me at the right angle so that I can have a good look.

    Welcome back to you, Marc and Seb…it has been a very long 2 weeks for me. 🙂

  2. Joan Lemon October 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    Welcome back! At my age time seems to go so by so quickly but this two weeks seemed to drag.

    Thank You Tara. I had noticed some of these differences but you did point them out so well.

    My grandson and I enjoyed the electrical storm while you were away. Was there much damage done?


  3. Shaza at Holiday to Africa Ltd. October 18, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    i write to compliment you and the team at Djuma for the fantastic work you do for the beautiful Leopard and endangered animals in your region.

    The world would be a better place if everyone had the same attitude.
    Thank you,

    Best wishes,

    Shaza Grainger.

  4. Paul Simister October 20, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    Lovely explanation of the differences although I think you have to be really familiar with leopards to notice. Otherwise you just get caught in the “stunningly beautiful” trap which overshadows everything else.

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