Guest Writer | A Week In Pictures
Hello again, I am back for another week in pictures while Chad is catching up on some leave.
In my last blog, I stated that whenever Chad goes on leave the Giraffe Pride of lions comes out and provides us with some entertainment, however it turns out this doesn’t seem to be the case any longer. I believe that they are currently on a neighboring property with a hippo kill. Unfortunately for us when lions make such a large kill they seem to stick around in that area for a while and continue to consume and digest as much food as they can. Unlike us, they don’t know when or where their next meal is coming from, which often reminds me how fortunate some of us are.
Further up on the northeastern side of the Timbavati the Mayambula Pride haven’t shown themselves for quite some time, seems they are residing south of the boundary along the Machaton drainage line. We have also received news that one of the lionesses has broken her leg, but unfortunately, I am unable to give you an update regarding her condition as none of us have seen her. Although injuries like this have the potential to be detrimental to the animal, these animals often can heal if they let themselves. So, who knows, maybe nature will take its course, or maybe we will see her walking amongst the Mayambula’s once more.
We have however been lucky enough to see the six Breakaway males from the Birmingham pride, I followed up on them after they had been found lounging around Rock Fig dam. We could see they had eaten something the night before, their bellies were enormously bloated and they were breathing heavily. Amazingly, they still managed to find the energy to chase a few wondering Dagga boys (buffalo bulls) who were hoping to quench their thirst as the morning started to heat up.
I have always been astonished at the rate of growth of these large cats. When I first started at Tanda Tula I responded to two young male lions that had been found close to Tanda Tula Safari Camp, they were young and had recently separated from their pride. At the beginning of this week, we found the same two again at Marco’s Dam, I was dumbfounded that they were the same two we had seen almost 4 months ago. Then towards the end of the week, we managed to see five out of the six Birmingham breakaway males as they were lounging around and escaping the heat not far from where the two younger males were seen.
With the large lion prides moving on from the western section and the eastern section both going south it has encouraged many leopards to move back into the area. We managed to see the female leopard, Savannah, kill a Jackal right in front of Plains Camp, we didn’t stay with her for long as it was dark, and we didn’t want to give away her position to any hyenas as she was not in an area with any trees so had to eat on the ground. Brief visuals were seen of a young male leopard with a steenbok kill, he was very skittish, and we believe he had come over from Klaserie as we have not seen him since.
Sadly, it seems as if Thumbela’s wounds aren’t getting better, and appears she has potentially had another fight because when we saw her there was another wound on her other leg.
We got a great sighting of Ntsondwana, a very large male leopard in the area courting a beautiful female leopard, called Sunset. After asking Jack if he thought they were going to mate he started to laugh and told me he has watched this leopard grow up from a young boy to the magnificent strong male he is today and never has he seen him mating with a female and while we sat and watched them you could see he was constantly trying to get space between himself and Sunset.
We also had a great sighting of Nyeleti and her two cubs on Saturday when they had been found with an impala kill up in a tree, although we got there a little late in the morning, we still had a great sighting with the cubs interacting with their mother, and one of them going back up to the tree to feed a little more.
Wild Dogs seemed to be a bit more scarce this week, but we luckily managed to see four adult wild dogs feeding on a recently killed impala. Seeing how these animals were trying to feed, again reminded me that for them these hunts are so critical and every opportunity they get must be capitalized, fortunately, they all managed to consume a decent amount before a very large hyena ran onto the scene, and stole the kill from the four dogs. When wild dogs are in a large pack they will try and defend a kill from scavengers, but it seems these four had decided it wasn’t worth any potential injuries and instead decided to take off to the east at a full sprint.
Fortunately for us, with these hot summer days now upon us we can find a lot of plain game around the watering holes. Massive herds of buffalo have been seen running through the bush as they approach watering holes, it is a very exciting time to watch these animals change from living as a herd to everyone for themselves as they push through one another to drink.
Big herds of elephants have also been found roaming from one watering hole to the next constantly feeding along the way.
All in all, it was a great week and I look forward to giving you my next update!
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