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Leopard diaries 23 February – 5 March 2012

Leopard Diaries

A word from our rangers.

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Leopard diaries 23 February – 5 March 2012

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Leopard diaries 23 February – 5 March 2012

Lion

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One of the highlights of our lion sightings over the past two weeks was when all four Majingilane male lions were found resting together one morning – a rare sighting of all four of them together which apparently has been happening more frequently of late. This is a good sign as with all the pressure from surrounding males in the vicinity they can be extremely vulnerable while separated.

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The Styx Pride have been spending a lot of time in the eastern parts of our traversing area. The young male belonging to "Gogi" the old female is still going strong despite losing his sibling at an early age. Another one of the females in the pride was also sighted mating with the "Dark-maned" Majingilane male. Unfortunately we weren't there to witness it but the pride is promising to grow within the next few months.

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The two Nkahuma females with their two young male cubs killed a young waterbuck near the lodge. They've managed to keep the two youngsters out of the war path of the strong male lion coalition, the Matimba's. These six male lions have taken over the territory to our north east and the Nkahuma pride was hit hard when four of their six cubs got killed. Similar to the Tsalala scenario the two mothers have had to stay in hiding and this is probably the reason we've been seeing them more often in unfamiliar territory.

Leopard

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Karula is one of our frequently seen dominant female leopard's that seems not only to provide food for her two fast growing cubs, Shavindzi and Shivambalana, but just like a sighting that was posted last year, we found her and her two cubs together with the dominant male Jordaan sitting beneath a small tree with the young male leopard from her previous litter, Nduna, feeding on a large impala ram. I have no doubt that she had made the kill as tracks showed where she had fetched her two cubs from Vuyatela and come straight back to where she had hoisted her kill. It is rather unusual to see how tolerant Jordaan is of Nduna's presence, at his age he should have already been chased out of the territory. Lets hope that this extra pressure on Karula doesn't result in her undoing.
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Tingana, Salayexe and Shadow have been in a love triangle for over four weeks now. It seems that both the female leopards have come into oestrus at the same time. The sequence of photo's above shows Tingana and Shadow mating late one afternoon and then he and Salayexe mating again the same evening. When female leopards come into oestrus they initiate the whole mating process by seeking out the male. It seems that Shadow kept on moving into Salayexe's territory while she was looking for Tingana to mate with; Salayexe being much larger kept on chasing her away from the big male only to take her position as his mate.

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After following two wild dogs that were hunting one afternoon around Arathusa airstrip, they became interested in something else in the bushes. We could see they had definitely seen something as they both were hopping up on their back legs trying to intimidate whatever was there.

After following them we eventually caught up with Ntima who had been chased up a Marula tree.
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Regular sightings have been had of the dominant male leopard, Tingana.

Other Sightings

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A female wild dog with her young male pup have been sighted on the Arathusa airstrip on a regular basis harassing the impala herds that frequent the open areas.

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Plenty of new born zebras are providing fantastic game viewing around the airstrips; also a bush buck showing the results of a ferocious stand-off that these male antelope often have.
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Probably the sighting of the month, a male Crowned Eagle which we spotted perched on a Knobthorn in the open areas around Elephant Plains. An eagle you would normally find in the indigenous forests where it specializes in preying on small mammals like monkeys, baboons, dassies, mongooses, cats and even small antelope. They have been known to range far from the forests when hunting.

Regards,
Liam and the Simbambili team

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