Leopard Diaries 7th - 13th February 2011
This week was the first time this summer that we have not had any rain. The clear blue skies and warm daytime temperatures have made for some fantastic conditions for game drives and the wildlife has responded in kind with a number of great sightings being enjoyed.
The leopard sightings this week have been good, with the highlight being a very quick sighting of two of our newest leopard cubs. Karula has moved into our traversing area and has her two, approximately three month old, cubs stashed away in a dense riverline on our eastern boundary. The two little balls of fur did not stay visible for too long and we did not want to pressurise them too much, without their mother being present. The cubs will often follow their mothers lead when faced by new objects such as vehicles and we try to only view the young cubs when she is present. Even better news is that it appears that our resident female leopard Salayexe has once again given birth. The area that she has been seen moving into and out of repeatedly this week is relatively inaccessible to vehicles and we have not been able to get any sightings of the new cubs. The suspicion was confirmed when Salayexe was found at a nearby waterhole and her teats are showing distinctive suckle marks!!!
The lions have been very conspicuous by their absence this week! We have only seen lions once this week, with two of the Styx lionesses being seen resting in the vicinity of one of the waterholes in the eastern half of our traversing.
The return of the elephants has been a real delight for us here at Simbambili. After the relative scarcity of these big grey beasts over the last two months it is wonderful to be able to drive out and not only find fresh signs and tracks of large numbers of elephants, but also to be able to find the animals themselves, utilising the marula fruit bounty to be had in the bush at the moment.
Rhinoceros & Buffalo
The sightings of white rhinoceros have been good with two different crashes of four being seen on a number of occasions this week. The two dominant bulls have been seen moving through their respective territories and would often be found in the company of the either of the two crashes. The buffalo sightings are still dominated by the groups of "Dagga-boys" who can be found lazing away the warm days either in or close to a convenient waterhole or mud wallow.
The two female cheetahs were seen on two different occasions this week; both of the sightings saw the pair trying to stalk impala herds. Unfortunately on both occasions the cats were unsuccessful in their hunting attempts, but are still both in great condition and providing some good sightings.
Till next week......