Leopard Diaries 26th April - 2nd May 2011
Another great week of game viewing, bird watching and although winter is close on our heels the sun has made more of an appearance compared to the past month. The male impalas testosterone levels are still running high, their snorts and roars are attracting plenty of unwanted attention - the leopards are taking full advantage. The abundance of Emperor moth caterpillars has given the cuckoos no option but to stick around for the feast before heading further north, specifically the Levaillants and the Jacobin Cuckoos who are constantly gleaning the bushes in front of our deck for caterpillars. Leopard
Quite a number of sightings of large male leopards have raised the question of whether there is currently an unoccupied territory in the central and southern parts of our traversing area. Two large males, Jordaan and another large male from Londolozi, have been seen scent marking and the Jordaan male in particular has been calling constantly. Where's Tyson? He has not been seen recently and the last time he was seen was in the south western corner of our traversing. Has he been pushed out, only time will tell?Â Â Â Â Â Â
Maybe their presence is the result of Shadow coming back into oestrus after it seems that she lost her cub. The young, playful female has been spending a lot of time scent marking and following the trail of other males in particular Jordaan, I'm sure we will find them mating soon.
Karula and her two cubs have once again provided us with fantastic leopard viewing. She made another kill around One-eye pan, her cubs are looking fat and healthy and although she can be a little aggressive with her cubs around she has let us in and provided brilliant sightings.
The best news of the week is that Salayexe was seen on a impala kill with her two new cubs, this must be their first taste of meat. They are still very young, about 6 - 7 weeks, and didn't stick around long enough for us to get a photo but knowing what a great mother she is we soon will be able to do so. Lion
Over the past two months or so we've found the tracks of two young male lions following a small group of buffalo on the Simbambili property. The two young lions aren't relaxed with the vehicles and have eluded us most of the time, although sightings of them under the spot light have been more frequent lately. Their attempts at hunting the ferocious buffalo have resulted in one of the lions being very badly injured; he can hardly walk and is not looking too good. This week, however, their perseverance paid off and they managed to bring down a large buffalo cow. Evidence showed that they also got close to bringing down another cow in the herd who wore the battle scars of her narrow escape. The large meal should hopefully get them back on track; they are certainly not letting anything get close to their prize and haven't moved further than a few metres from the rotting carcass over the past four days. Elephant
We have enjoyed a number of great elephant sightings from the deck of the lodge. Large herds are frequently passing the open areas by the water hole, including many young calves as well as a number of large bulls, some of which are clearly in musth. Buffalo & Rhinoceros
A brand new white rhino calf found near Arathusa Safari lodge has delighted all of us; this is some good news to the species for a change.
Although the large herd of buffalo have moved off, smaller groups have been seen together with scattered dagga boys all over the property. The smaller groups have seemed to be a target for the lions, where tracks show that
one group was chased into Robson's property by the Majingilane males and then of course the group around the lodge where one did get killed and another narrowly escaped.