Leopard Diaries 5 November 2009
I arrived back from leave this week to find little bits of green grass scattered all over place as a result of the limited rain. However there were still no impala lambs. Then the next day on safari there one was and then there another was. They had finally started to drop. The week proceeded and no further impala lambs were produced. Then 4 days ago it began to get hotter and hotter and the clouds began to build and we had a downpour of 22mm in a few hours. This was the first proper rain for the year, the puddles were everywhere on the roads and in the bush and the animals were loving every minute of this bliss. Within a day the grass was greener everywhere and you could see a definite change, this was obviously the signal all the other female impala had been waiting for and they then all dropped their young.
What female impala try to do is drop their babies within a few days of each other, so they all flood the market with a surplus of babies and then the predators like the lions, leopards, wild dog, cheetah and hyena canâ€™t eat all of them at once and the survival rate is enhanced.
With regard to the cats they have all played their roles this week, with the 2 Mapogo male lions killing a large buffalo bull which resulted in our viewing them at the kill site for at least 5 days feeding on the buffalo, going to drink,Â and then returning to feed some more. They left very little of the buffalo and provided some fine sightings for all of our guests to see.
The Styx pride of lions also made a welcome return to our area, but the Mapogos decided to change that by chasing them away.
The leopard sightings haveÂ been fantastic, with the female leopard Salayexe and her two cubs seen on every day the entire week. Both the cubs are getting big and are turning into fine young sub-adult leopards and are providing us with excellent sightings that continue to amaze our guests. Salayexeâ€™s older sister Nyeleti also brought her three cubs onto our traverse area this week and gave us some phenomenal sightings. We had the luxury of being able to offer our guests the choice of Salayexe and her two cubs or Nyeleti and her three cubs. The large territorial male leopards Tyson and the older male Mafufenyane also made a welcome return. In addition Shadow, Tandy, Safari and Mbilo were all seen this week and gave us an action packed week of sightings of 13 different individual leopards.
We were also fortunate to have a coalition of four male cheetah move through the area which gave us great pleasure. We were very lucky to see these rare and endangered cats!
Elephants have once again been plentiful as well as rhinos and buffalo.
General game viewing has been fantastic and so too viewing of the resident hyena clan which we are seeing on a daily basis around the same waterholes and at the den for those quiet times on drive.
Until next week
The Simbambili Ranger team