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11.11.2015 admin
I remember when I first arrived in the Sabi Sand, the Camp Pan male had a reputation as being the largest leopard in the area and I was desperate to see him. A pack of wild dogs had killed, and were feeding on, a young waterbuck just south of the Sand River at Taylor’s crossing. The Camp Pan male with the spoils of his raid safely hoisted in a Jackal Berry tree, out of reach of the wild dogs. In the past two weeks, he has robbed both the Mxabene 3:2 young male and the Mxabene female of their impala kills.
After more careful consideration, I came to the conclusion that it all comes down to the fact that leopards are both extremely adaptable and opportunistic. I would be interested to hear what your thoughts are regarding my interpretation of this behaviour. I totally agree with your conclution: that he found out that it is easy for him to scare off other predators and steal their kill than to hunt for himself. Jens, we often refer to spot patterns as this is one of the means by which we identify the different leopards. While we are anthropomorphising, I wonder how the Camp Pan male would feel about being compared to an average household tom?
He is magnificent – that thick solid neck and boxy square face have me in awe every time. Cam pan preserves a considerable size, despite his age, so it is easier to intimidate smaller leopards instead of hunting. I’d be curious to know if it is still estimated at close to 90 kilograms Cam pan, because it can vary its mass over the years? Hi Francis, when last I saw the Emsagwen male he was looking enormous, however I personally think that Camp Pan is a bigger male leopard.
I think they all do it given the opportunity, Mufufunyane was well known for stealing other’s kills, especially poor old Safari’s !! Outstretched arms and claws reach for the impalas rump split seconds before he brings it down in a cloud of dust and dirt.
As good a hunter as Camp Pan is, let’s not forget how his size and weight enable to succesfully rob other leopards of their kills on a regular basis. I recall a period last year during which he robbed something like five kills off his own daughter, the Mashaba female, in little over a month.
Oh how I wish I was back at Londolozi but thank you for sharing the video with us all…. This leopard is a huge specimen, and must surely rank as one of the biggest of the leopards that roam the Sabi Sands.

This large male has had a successful and impressive career, has fathered many litters over the years, and has a proud bloodline.
Born in December 2000, he has dominated much of the area for a number of years and sired many cubs. He remains the largest leopard I have had the privilege of seeing and, even as he moves into his twilight years, his sheer size makes him a force to be reckoned with. Unbeknown to them, the Camp Pan male was lying in wait in the sedge along the river bank and we spotted him as we crossed the river, making our way towards the wild dogs.
At the time I didn’t think much of the fact that he had scavenged a kill and thought he was simply being opportunistic. This trend made me wonder what was causing this seemingly unusual behaviour, as we always consider leopards to be more of a predator than a scavenger. The Camp Pan male has likely learned that other leopards will usually submit to him and as such it is less risky for him to rob them of their kills than to hunt animals himself.
When we talk about a spot pattern, we mean the number of spots on the leopard’s cheek, above the top row of whiskers, ie. Just yesterday afternoon I was sitting with him thinking about what an amazing specimen he is. If anyone has any information on this, please let us know by replying to this comment thread. His passions of digital media, film and photography, combined with his field-guiding background, have seen him take the Londolozi blog to new heights since he began it in 2009. Although this may appear to be a lazy strategy to some, it is simply him conserving energy. One might say that he is getting on in years and is only going to decline from here on, but he is not showing any signs of this at present.
He is one of the easiest of Londolozi’s leopards to identify as he has a scar (black line) beneath his right eye. I had to wait a good few months, but the wait was definitely worth it, as my first sighting of him remains one of the most exciting I have ever had.
Next thing, a hyena stuck its head out of the bushes close to where the dogs were feeding, likely having heard the commotion when the waterbuck was killed. I would later learn, however, that this leopard has a habit of scavenging kills, especially from other leopards.
My first thought was that, at a touch over 11 years, he was possibly past his prime and having difficulty hunting his own prey. Being solitary animals, leopards can’t afford to be injured, otherwise they risk losing their ability to hunt.

The bottom line is that the sole objective of these animals is to survive from day to day to enable them to procreate and have as many offspring as possible.
Why go through the often strenuous, time-consuming and potentially dangerous process of hunting when he could simply force a smaller leopard off their kill? It was the first time I had such a clear view of a leopard hoisting a kill, so I was just as excited and was so glad to be able to capture it on video. He was born in the western parts of Sabi Sands to a mother and father that we are not familiar with. The Tamboti female has recently preferred to court the Princess Alice Pans male rather than the Airstrip male. This implies that if challenged by a large leopard, such as the Camp Pan male, other leopards would rather give up their kill than defend it and risk being injured. He was previously known as “the large male leopard from Sparta”, and is otherwise known as the “Camp Pan male” or “Xmobonyane”.
The Camp Pan male spotted his gap and charged towards the remains of the young waterbuck, grabbed it, and made for a large Jackal Berry tree (Diospyros mespiliformis) a couple of metres away. If, however, you spend any amount of time watching this leopard go about his daily wanderings, you will soon realise that he is hardly past his prime and is still very capable of hunting.
This principle should always be considered when interpreting animal behaviour, as they will usually pursue the safest and most reliable option. The core territory of this leopard lies to the west, although he is frequently seen around the airstrip and surrounds. He is very careful not to venture any further east where he might encounter the Airstrip male. He is seldom recorded east of the Sand River, although in the winter of 2012 he made one or two visits across the river while the water was at a low level.
The Airstrip male is far smaller, yet he was able to intimidate the Princess Alice Pans male and was the victor in that encounter. The Bicycle Crossing male, father to the Airstrip male, is an old foe of the Princess Alice Pans male, and these two leopards have clashed on many occasions.
It would seem that the Princess Alice Pans male has started to gain ascendancy and, along with pressure from the Airstrip male, the Bicycle Crossing male has shifted his territory further to the south.

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