Chavaluthu is the blue-eyed leopard boy of the Balule and is often spotted on the Ezulwini traverse. Leopards are notoriously elusive creatures, choosing to hide in drainage lines during the day and conducting highly-specialised kills at night. Chavaluthu occasionally keeps a low profile, hiding out in the thickets and avoiding the limelight. But when he decides to come out and play, he does so with vengeance and always puts on a show! His name means of “afraid of nothing”, which would explain his often inexplicable behaviour.
A couple of days ago, Chavaluthu made a successful impala kill. After making a kill leopards will normally drag the carcass up the closest tree for safekeeping. Leopards are at risk of losing their kill to thieving hyenas and even other leopards. Chavaluthu, being brave and non-plussed about potential threats, stashed his kill in the thickets behind where he was resting. Not quite textbook leopard behaviour, but then again, leopards don’t read textbooks!
Jochen happened to be guiding the night when Chavaluthu was seen guarding his kill. After leaving the sighting word came through that our favourite leopard had lost his kill to a hyena!
But there’s more to this story than meets the eye. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s part 2 of our Balule leopard update, where all will be revealed. In the meantime, here are images from the start of the event.