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Rangers Report November 2009

Leopard Diaries

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Rangers Report November 2009

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Rangers Report November 2009

dec1November is a month of change here in the bush as the fresh flush of green and a number of young animals being born with the arrival of the first rains. We have had a bit of a “baby boom” with of a whole new generation of impala arriving and the lambing season in full swing. The migrant birds have all returned with the distinctive call of the Woodland Kingfisher being heard all over the bushveld.

The month’s rainfall has slightly affected our game drive area with a few roads becoming impassable and certain areas being closed to off-road driving. This has not really affected our game viewing and the wildlife viewing has not suffered. Leopard viewing in particular has been unbelievable this month with no fewer than fifteen different individual leopards being seen throughout the month.

We have experienced a lot of rain in the past month with a week during the middle of the month in which we had well over 120mm of rain falling over a five day period. A thundershower late on a one afternoon produced a downpour of 40mm, which caused the river in front of camp to flow for the third time this year.

Leopard

dec2As previously mentioned leopard viewing has been very good throughout the month, with leopard sightings on almost every drive. We have seen our resident territorial leopard Salayexe and her two cubs regularly. The leopard female is still providing very well for her growing cubs, which are becoming more independent daily. They have started to explore further and further on their own and have been seen to make a number of smaller kills. These have included rodents and birds.

dec3Mbilo, a young leopard female who has setup territory in the area surrounding Big Dam, has treated us to some very memorable sightings. We found her early one morning as she was dragging a recently killed impala ram. The ram was a fully mature adult and was a substantial kill for a young leopard. Unfortunately she was not able to benefit from the kill for too long as soon as she was chased from the kill later in the day by her mother, Nyeleti. The older, bigger female then brought her three new cubs to the kill and they fed off of the carcass for the following two days. The three small cubs are doing well and they seem to be growing daily

The other leopards seen this month have also included our two territorial males Tyson and Mafufunyan who seen mating with Thandi who has started moving into the west of our traversing. Ntima, a leopard we see very infrequently, has given birth again after losing a litter of cubs in April of this year. These cubs have come from a mating with Mafufunyan in May.

dec4Lion

The lion viewing this month has been fair with the Tsalala pride being seen on a number of occasions in the southern section of our traversing. We have also seen the Nxuhuma pride after a long absence, they were found early one morning finishing off the remains of a young buffalo that the pride had killed during the night.

The Mapogo males were also seen earlier in the month after they had killed a large buffalo bull. The two male lions stayed in the area feeding off of the buffalo for three days before moving south and out of our traversing area. The Sandy Patch lioness and her cub have also made an appearance in the concession, she appears to be doing well and the cub is growing.

Elephant

dec5A number of herds of elephant have moved through our concession area. The herds appear to be made of smaller numbers than usual; this could be due to the amount of water now available in the bush that the herds are able to split into family units. A number of larger bulls have also been seen as they follow the breeding herds which have female in oestrus. There has also been an increase in the amount of trees that have been pushed over in our area. The new leaf growth nearer the tops of the trees has more than likely been the main reason for this, as well as the softer ground due to the rain.

Buffalo & Rhinoceros
dec8
dec7There has been an incredible amount of buffalo grazing throughout the concession this month, with numbers of over eight hundred being seen in different herds. The resident buffalo bulls have taken to wallowing in the new pans that have filled due to the rain.

White rhinoceros have also been seen regularly throughout the month, after the dry season and absence of water in the concession, the rain filled temporary pans seem to have attracted them back into our traversing areas.

dec6


Cheetah & Wild Dog
The surprise sighting this month was of four male cheetahs, which moved into the eastern half of our traversing area for a single day. They were seen feeding on an impala kill late one afternoon after which they moved east into the Kruger National Park.

The pack of twenty four wild dog were spotted on an afternoon drive as they set off for a hunt, although we were not able to follow them it was reported that they were successful in catching a duiker. The pack remained in our area for two days before moving north into the Manyeleti Game Reserve.

It has been a fantastic month with a varied amount of game viewing and some beautiful sightings. The bush has burst in life after the rains and the chorus of frog calls that fill the night is one of those sounds of summer that we really enjoy. We are looking forward to a great festive season and hope that the game viewing will deliver some “Christmas presents” during December.

Year to date Temperature

dec9


Year to date Rainfall

dec10


Game Sightings per Day

November '09 Lion Leopard Buffalo Elephant White Rhino Wild Dog Cheetah
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Regards

The Simbambili Ranger Team

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