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Tjololo Has Passed Away

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Anonymous's picture
Tjololo Has Passed Away

Received this from Wildcast today:

This morning Tjololo was found on Mala Mala in a really bad way.
His was very lean, his coat looking terrible and had many porcupine quills stuck in his body. A vet was called in and Tjololo was darted. He had quills in his throat his chest and even his paws. Some quills about 5 inches deep in his body. The vet removed these all and cleaned him up, but Tjololo never came round again after antidote was administered.
This was probably the best way for him to go, as he would probably just have continued to suffer in ill health.

I first saw Tjololo in 1999 as a young 4 year old leopard setting up his territory on Mala Mala Game Reserve. It was then I made a film about him, “Stalking Leopards” for National Geographic. I spent 18 months in the field with him following his every movement every day. He became a close friend as this image alone speaks to.
Tjololo had just killed this kudu cow and was dragging it off. I got out the vehicle and lay on the ground to take photos. He could drag the carcass anywhere, but wanted to go where I was lying, and so did just that. He dragged the kudu within touching distance of me and didn’t so much as give me a glance. What a trusting dude.

He was small male leopard but feisty. As time went by Tjololo began to take control of a larger territory encompassing nearly the whole of Mala Mala. On several occasions he came across much bigger males who we thought were REAL dudes and in just about every confrontation the little man came out the victor. And then in time he started trespassing outside Mala Mala still increasing his domain. He RULED!
But in the last 6 months his condition has been seen to deteriorate as he’s been getting on and would now be 12 years old. Not a bad innings for a male leopard.
I left Mala Mala in 2005 in which time I’d made another 2 films, “Predators at War” and “Hyena Queen”, both of which featured Tjololo in numerous sequences.
He also did me really proud when he was the feature of my cover story in the National Geographic Magazine 2001.
He was a very special leopard and I’m just so grateful to have shared so much time with him.

sabine's picture
Joined: Oct 4 2006

That was beautiful Gerda.  Thank you Smiling

L's picture
Joined: Feb 18 2006

Gerda, that was a very touching tribute to" The Dude" TJ, thank you for putting that together, my friend, well done!

secretadmirer (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

While I was trying to look up some answers to my last question, I came across some pictures of Tjololo on that fatal day.


secretadmirer (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

I know him also as the rock drift male but did he go by any other names besides that and Tjololo?                                      Just curious...

Aquila (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

What a beautiful tribute Gerda! I had been following Tjololo through his name of Rock Drift male for some time in various sightings thread and was greatly saddened on hearing of his death. He was by far an awesome leopard and will be missed terribly. His legacy no doubt will be carried on by his beautiful offspring.

Swift (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

It is 1 year ago that I got to know Tjololo here on the Boma. Bomites did know him and were very attached to him.

Saw the docu from Kim and red all about this magnificent Leopard. 

Now Tjololo is not with us anymore but he will always be in our memories 

This is beautiful Tribute!  Thanks Gerda!


Kinty's picture
Joined: Jun 25 2007

Thank you Gerda, that was a wonderful tribute...I remember him well.  Still have some pics I captured way back.


Life is too short for drama and petty things, so kiss slowly, laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly. Unknown

secretadmirer (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

What a wonderful tribute to Tjololo.  One of my fondest memories of Leopardcam was when Kim would write messages and hold them up to the camera so we would know what was going on.  I remember I almost cried that last night of filming too because I had become so infatuated with Tjololo's life.  RIP Tjololo....you touched the hearts of many.

Ms Charlie (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

Gone but we will never forget. Thank you for doing this tribute.

Wild Dreamer (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

Gerda, that was wonderful ! A loving tribute indeed.


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