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Leopard Diaries

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25th - 31st October

By Liam Rainier
Leopard Diaries 25th - 31st October 2010

october1The week has been one that has promised us our first rains, the skies have darkened and thunder and lightning have given us some fantastic shows but as yet we have not received the much anticipated first thundershower.
The weather has been good with some very hot weather being experienced at the beginning of the week with the mercury rising well into the forty degree celcius region. This changed with a frontal system that moved in on Tuesday and finally gave us a welcome break from the heat.
The game viewing has been simply outstanding with some fantastic interactions being seen between the large cats and wild dog making two different appearances this week.

11 - 17 October 2010

By Liam Rainier
Leopard diaries 11th - 17th October 2010

We have had good sightings of herds of buffalo in our aresta for the whole week. One of the herds was approximately 1300 strong. This big herd left most of the dams they came across empty, It was truly amazing seeing all those buffalo working and moving together like a well oiled machine. I think that this particular aggregation of buffalo is probably the biggest herd the Sabi Sand Wildtuin has ever had on the property since the fence dividing the reserve from the Kruger National Park was removed.

We also had fantastic elephant sightings during the week and we were privileged to find a big herd of elephants drinking at Ram Pan. On the edges of the water where it was muddier the young elephants began to wallow in the mud while the bigger more mature elephants looked on.

While we were watching that awesome sighting we heard an impala alarm call east of Elephant Plains Lodge. It turned out that they were disturbed by the presence of the dominant male leopard Tyson. We responded to the sighting and saw the big leopard lying under a Silver Cluster Leaf tree. We did not think we would see him for a while as we last saw him a week ago and he has an enormous territory to defend and patrol. We realized that he had an ugly tear through his right ear which he must have picked up in fight with another leopard coming into his territory. The young male leopard, Rhulani, Tyson's son, was also spotted at Big Dam, he looked very skittish and nervous and kept looking in a specific direction and so we decided to go and have a look. About 200 metres from Rhulani we saw two lionesses with a kill. Rhulani must have killed the impala and the was robbed by the lions.

Nyeleti the 7 year old female leopard was also seen in the Manyeleti River on an impala kill with her three cubs. We didn't see them very well as they were deep in the drainage line, but saw the young male cub beautifully posing for the cameras on a termite mound close by. Suddenly we were joined by a small family group of elephants and we thought that the elephants would chase the leopards away but funnily enough it was the opposite, the leopards kept the elephants at bay. We decided to move on as the elephants got pretty angry with the leopards and you do not want to get stuck between three leopards with a kill and some angry elephants.

Until next time

Simbambili team.

2 - 10 October 2010

By Liam Rainier
Leopard diaries 2nd - 10th October 2010

We enjoyed wonderful weather for the duration of the week and later on we had unexpected drops of rain. On one morning we heard thunder on the far distant western parts of the greater park.

Elephants sightings were tremendous over the week and we had exceptional sightings of these large pachyderms. On one occasion we saw a herd drinking at Big Dam Arathusa and stayed with them for about half an hour, watching them drinking and playing in the water.

Rhino viewing was quiet this week and we only saw one bull rhino resting on the ground. It was a beautiful morning with the combination of few drops of rain from the sky, moisturizing the palatable grass and the rhino without wasting time began grazing after the rain. While we were enjoying this sighting, big herds of impala came running towards the rhino and they chased him in to the thick vegetation. 

It was a really busy week of lion sightings; we had two different prides of lions present on the property. The Majingilane males, which means security force, the new males in the area  were sighted on a young buffalo kill with two Tsalala pride females. We hoped that they might mate, but nothing happened while they remained on the kill for about three days. It was cool and cloudy for about two days, and as a result the lions fed on the carcass late at night and during the day they were resting. They finished the buffalo and went to the Big Dam to digest their huge feed for two days close to the hippo pool. The combination of the lion and the hippo in the pool in close proximity was magnificent, especially for sundowners. Unfortunately the southern boundary of our traversing area was not too far from the dam and we watched as they went for a last drink and then headed south across the cut-line.

The young 16 month old Leopard, Rhulani, was sighted on an impala kill in the proximity of the Manyeleti River close to Elephant Plains lodge. This was a really fantastic sighting as he was feeding up in the tree with one hyena on the ground. He is such a beautiful looking young male leopard like his father. He is now at the stage where he will shortly need to find his way out of his parents respective territories. Nsele, his sister  has also been seen fighting with her own brother for a space. The young female ran into a tree for safety, when he chased her.  

She stayed up there for a while, until he left, and then when she came down she disappeared very quickly into thick bush.

Thanks
Laz, Simbambili Ranger.

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