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19th - 25th July 2010

Leopard Diaries

A word from our rangers.

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19th - 25th July 2010

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19th-25th July 2010

julydiary1A remarkable period of game viewing has been enjoyed by all of us at Simbambili this week. Once again the dry season has not disappointed with regards to the frequency of sightings and in particular those of the larger predators.

The weather has played a part and the cool mornings and evenings are made bearable by some fantastic warm afternoons and clear blue skies. We did however have some very unexpected rain during the week, with approximately 3mm of rain falling on Wednesday evening!

The rain was most welcome as it settled the winter dust and seemed to clear the dry and dusty air.

Leopard

The highlight of our leopard viewing this week was the presence of the large territorial male Tyson, he was found early one morning scouting termite mounds for warthog burrows. He would cautiously approach a mound and inspect it for warthog burrows. This would be followed by a very careful inspection of the burrow entrance, with the leopard sniffing to find out if any of the warthogs were still in the underground refuges.

What made this even more interesting was that the larger male was being followed by his son, Rhulani who is approaching independence from his mother Salayexe. The young male leopard would follow after Tyson simulating what the older leopard was doing.

julydiary2

Lion

The lion viewing was good during the first half of the week; however later in the week all of the prides moved off of the property over the weekend.

The Majingilane coalition of four males, were found as far west as we've seen them this week and made their intentions clear by scent marking and scraping at any opportunity. This appears to be a definite territorial border with the remainder of the Mapogo coalition which have moved into the western half of the reserve. It would appear that the two coalitions will control opposite halves of the reserve, but only time will tell exactly how the territorial splits will occur.

On a rather sombre note the Majingilane males have unfortunately killed another member of the Styx pride. The remains of a young lioness were found on one of our neighbouring properties late one afternoon and one of the four males lay near to the carcass on which it was clear he had been feeding. This now means that the Styx pride has now been reduced to only five members, three adult lionesses, a sub-adult lioness and the sub-adult male.

The pride spent three days in our area before moving off into our eastern neighbour's property.

julydiary3
Elephant


The number of elephant herds has decreased considerably during the course of the week.  The herds appear to be moving further south towards the permanent water sources along the Sand River.

We have also been seeing a number of large bulls and the large tusker that is found throughout the area during our winter continued to be sighted during the week.

Rhinoceros & Buffalo

The majority of our buffalo sightings this week have been of the smaller groups of lone buffalo bulls. The herds appear to have followed the elephant and moved toward the permanent rivers to the south.

White rhino sightings have been good, with sightings of these large pachyderms being enjoyed almost daily.

julydiary4Wild Dog

A pleasant surprise this week was a sighting of the pack of six wild dogs. The pack was spotted early one morning as they hunted in the lightly wooded areas on our western boundary.

The pack appears to be very healthy and tracks have told us that the pack has started to move with the puppies from the den site and we are hoping that we are going to see these young dogs in the near future.

Kind Regards

The Simbambili Guiding and Tracking Team

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