Leopard diaries 20th - 27th June 2011
With the cold, and accompanied by dry winds the bush is starting to thin out and it is becoming increasingly drier and dustier by the day. The game viewing was a bit on-and-off over the past week, with some drives providing sightings around every corner and then some days the animals proving to be quite shy - probably a result of the cold wind as the animals tend to be more skittish in windy conditions with the predators scent blowing everywhere. There were still some unforgettable game viewing experiences during the week.
Salayexe, now aware that her two cubs are dead, was seen mating again. The last time she was seen mating was with an unknown male who has a large scar on his neck, they were mating near Simbambili Dam. She was found again, mating with another unknown male, this time the mating marathon lasted a lot longer. Probably keen to try and mate with as many males as possible to coax them into thinking her new cubs will be each of theirs, sly but clever. Hopefully her new cubs won't share the same fate of her previous litter.
Ntima has also been seen frequently in the east of our traversing area, on one occasion she came very close to killing an Impala right next to the vehicle. Her daughter, Kwatile, was seen briefly as well, both large females extremely beautiful as always.
It seems its honeymoon season as another pair of leopards was seen mating. A large male known as Emsagwen and Shadow, who lost her last litter about two months ago. The large male dwarfs the female as he climbs over her.
After killing a big "daga" boy buffalo a couple weeks ago, the Tsalala pride in the form of the tailles lioness and the four sub-adults are running high on confidence as they were seen trying to tackle another big buffalo bull. This time, however, they were unsuccessful, although the sighting was still fantastic. We received news that they did manage to bring a buffalo down in Vuyatela the next day. Without a resident male with them this is quite a feat.
One of the Styx lionesses was seen mating with one of the Maxingilane males, she is still quite young and this seems to be the first time she has come into oestrus. Honeymoon season continues...
It seems the larger herds of Elephants have moved towards the flowing rivers where more vegetation is available. The bush is extremely dry at the moment and other than some small herds the majority of the elephant sightings have been of lone bulls. A couple of large tuskers have been the highlight of the week.
Buffalo and Rhino
As with the elephants the buffalo are also looking for better grazing grounds, especially the large herds. Some daga boys are ever present around the lodge.
The Rhino sightings have been good with a large group of seven hanging around Little Gowrie. The Uthla bull still occupying his area around the lodge as well.