Early December 2009 saw the arrival of two new tiny leopard cubs at N/a’an ku sê; Ombeli & Shakira. A farmer had captured their mother and thankfully phoned us when the cubs were born and he realised that he couldn’t look after them. Sadly they had already been removed from their mother and when they first arrived with us, the cubs were extremely underweight and malnourished.
The cubs were approximately 8 weeks old, had no fur, with masses of excess skin and dull, straggly coats. Since their arrival, however, they have developed really well into young leopards with glossy coats and strong characters.
Ombeli, as the male, is much larger than the female Shakira, and has grown into a very strong leopard. Shakira is more agile and explorative than her brother, taking a lot of interest in any nearby trees, bushes or holes!
Leopards can never be tamed as they will always retain their wild instinct. Unfortunately, as they were hand raised from such a young age it is unlikely they’ll be able to be released back into the wild. Without a mother to teach them hunting skills, they may not be able to take care of themselves, and their close contact with humans would make living in the wild potentially dangerous for both leopards and humans.