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Leopard Diaries

A word from our rangers.

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23rd -29th August 2010

By Liam Rainier
23rd - 29th August 2010

The return of some of the migratory bird species such as the Yellow-Billed kite and Wahlbergs Eagle is always a good indication that we are headed towards the change of the season as spring starts to show itself here in the bush.

The breeding herds of elephants have also returned and a number of smaller herds are being seen as they move through the property. A large number of buffalo have been seen throughout the area this week, with the herd of approximately 600 buffalo in one individual herd which moved into the open area in front of the lodge and drank and wallowed in the waterhole. To watch as the entire area in front of camp filled with the buffalo was an awe inspiring sighting.

We had fabulous sightings of the resident leopard population this week with the highlight being Tyson and Salayexe mating. This is the first mating since this female has come back into oestrus and we are hoping that if successful this could mean that we will have new arrivals in December. Our guests were amazed to watch as Salayexe who had been resting in the branches of a large Leadwood tree, came down and flirted to entice Tyson to mate with her, this happened in due course and the pair mated twice before moving off into the dense cover provided by the Manyeleti riverbed.

Rhinoceros sightings have been good with a number of sightings of the resident bulls being seen moving through their respective territories. Black rhinoceros tracks have been found on three occasions this week and we are still desperately hoping for our first sighting of this elusive pachyderm.

hree of the Majingilane male lions were seen as they rested under a tree after feeding on a large kill. The trio spent the entire day resting before finally moving towards a pan to slake their thirst. The fourth male appeared later in the evening in the company of one of the Styx pride lionesses, the pair had been mating for a three day period and the entire pride now seems to have been accepted by the four males. The Tsalala pride was also seen late on in the week, with the entire pride of nine being present, all appeared to have fed well and spent the entire day sleeping off their full bellies.

Regards

The Simbambili Guiding and Tracking Team.

16 - 22 August 2010

By Liam Rainier
16th - 22nd August 2010

The injured male lion [Golf Course Male] was seen at Rhulani, resting under a Marula tree. He looks a lot better with his injured leg being able to take some weight, this lion has been following a few leopards around hoping that they will make a kill and he can then steal it from them. This young male will be able to survive if he does not scent mark to attract the attention of other males and if he only concentrates on finding food for now.

We have seen the Machingilane males in the eastern part of our traverse with a member of the Styx pride, trying to mate with her but not succeeding. The other two young males (Styx young male, joined by another nomad)  were spotted chasing waterbuck at Chitwa Lodge, but got away by running through the lodge. The two young males gave up.

We had such magnificent leopard sightings this week. We successfully tracked Nyaleti and her three cubs which we have not seen in two weeks. They were all lying on top of a termite mound in a row with a kill down below, some amazing photos for our guests. Mbilo also showed up and after a few minutes of growling and hissing they let her feed as well. Our resident female Salayexe has been seen often during the week.

Herds of elephant were seen at Safari Dam drinking, some were at Big Dam Arathusa while  at Simbambili open area we saw a number of lone bulls.

Buffalo herds have also been moving on and off our property, probably looking for water.

Until next time
The Simbambili team.

19th - 25th July 2010

By Liam Rainier
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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