Fundi's son - by Andrea Pompele
Some years ago we wrote about an unusual leopard that frequents the area around Mdonya Old River camp in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania.
We assumed that this male leopard and his sister may have been orphaned while very young – the mother was not seen. The male was often seen around the camp, which is set in the northwest of the park, in a wilderness forest of trees and bushes far from any other settlements.
He particularly liked to visit the garage area of the camp, and nose around the vehicles. So the camp staff nicknamed him “Fundi” – which means mechanic in Kiswahili.
Fundi in 2011 - photo by Micol Farina
The first image we can find of Fundi is from 2011 – taken by Micol Farina, the camps manager for Mdonya and its sister camp, Lake Manze in Selous. We think he was about 1 year to 18 months old at that time.
Fundi inspects car by Bobby Jewell in 2011
In that year Bobby Jewell visited Mdonya Old River camp and took this film of Fundi inspecting the car in which they sat – a rather scary experience!
Fundi in 2014 – photo by Micol Farina
Fundi in July 2017 – photo by Andrea Pompele
Since then, Fundi has been seen regularly every year in the Mdonya area, and has slowly grown into a magnificent male leopard.
Now we have some wonderful news about some possible offspring of Fundi, a new generation!
Photo of Fundi’s son by Andrea Pompele in July 2017
This week, Rebecca Phillips, one of the managers at Mdonya camp wrote:
“We have recently seen two leopard cubs together in the thick bushes just off the main road in to camp. We think this is where the mother hides them while she is away searching for prey. The leopard we think is the mother has been seen on a few occasions, once she was seen together with a big male and the guides could hear the cubs in the bushes but couldn't see them.
Fundi’s daughter – a little more shy - photo by Andrea Pompele in July 2017
One is a male, the other a little girl. She is more shy and tends to hang back in the bushes and I didn't see her the other day but I suspect she was hiding nearby when I filmed the male.
Video of Fundi's son showing an interest in cars - taken by Rebecca Phillips in August 2017
Due to the young male’s behaviour being so similar to that of Fundi when he was young – he is very curious and approaches the vehicles in the same way – and the fact that Fundi is one of several big male leopards in the Mdonya woodland, we feel that it is possible that he is the father.
Photo of the young male leopard, taken by Rebecca Phillips in August 2017
The drivers and guides are very excited about having another leopard around that is so relaxed around the vehicles and hopefully we will continue to get many good sightings of him and his sister.”