Ranger’s Blog

A Safari With Soul
24 Dec

20-23 October 2016 – A time of plenty for the predators.

Lion

 

Mbiri pride (3)

 

There was 3 sightings of the Mbiri’s over the 4 days. They were found with a Buffalo kill, close to manor house on the morning of the 20th, but were chased off by elephants. In the afternoon, they were found on Konkoni to the east. They were looking well fed, and healthy. One of the young females spotted a kudu, and started stalking it. She got quite close, probably about 40 meters, before the Kudu saw her and took off, barking in alarm. On the 23rd, they were found with both thanda Impi male Lions at Old pump.

Nharhu pride (2)

 

The Nharhu pride were sighted twice in the 4 days. Initially they were found close to S6 open area, but later killed 2 Buffalo on Ndlulamiti road. They seem to be favoring the area west of Main dam these days, which was the area they decided to hide the cubs, when they were born. There having been some sightings of young males to the south of Main dam, so i think they just want to get a bit deeper into thanda Impi territory. The abundance of potential prey is also a great incentive to stay in that area.

 

Talamati pride (2)

 

The largest pride in the Manyeleti was found inly once, on Buffelshoek access. This area is deep in their territory, and it makes sense that they are currently in that area. Several of the females have very young cubs, so instinctively they would know the best places to hide those cubs. We are estimating to pride to be 21 Lions at the moment, so hopefully the cubs reach maturity. Wouldn’t that be a sight to see!

 

Thanda Impi male Lions (2)

 

The Thanda Impi’s spent the 4 days moving between their 2 prides. First they were seen with the Nharhu pride on S6 cutline and 4 days later, they were with the Mbiri pride in the northern extremes of their own territory, at Old pump. Its going to be interesting to see how these males manage to defend 2 prides at the same time. If a major threat had to arise, how would they deal with it?

 

Avoca sub-adult males (1)

 

We only had one sighting, of one of the young males on Windi Windi. They seem to be gradually south, so who knows where they’ll end up. Maybe challenging the Selati males for the Talamati pride in a years time!

 

Leopard

 

Rhulani male Leopard (1)

 

Rhulani was found once in the 4 days, sleeping it off in the drainage line on Foot road. This is in the area that is being contested by him and the Beacon male. Interestingly both males were seen in the same general area, over these 4 days. Somehow it seems that Rhulani is holding on to the area, but had a lot to do to expel the larger beacon male.

 

Beacon male Leopard (1)

 

Beacon was also seen close to Wild dog dam, about 2 days later than Rhulani. Sadly it was at night, and he was moving through some thick bush, so no photos. He’s making one hell of a bid for this part of rhulani’s territory.

 

Ntsuntsu male Leopard (1)

 

The direct relative of Rhulani, coming from the same father and mother, the new kid on the block. He was seen at khoka Moya dam, where he was resting in the drainage area to the north of the dam. This is a new threat to Rhulani’s territory, but he’s definitely not ready to challenge his big brother yet. The next year or so will be interesting.

 

Sable bridge cubs (1)

 

These 2 young females were found far out of what we thought was their mothers territory. They were found on Giraffe road, in the central north of the Manyeleti. All these clues help us to understand the Leopard population in the Manyeleti, something that was non-existant until now. The Mother of the cubs, the Sable bridge female has a huge territory for leopards in this general area. The good thing is that her daughters will inherit a portion of her territory, and so our Leopard population will increase and start to stabilize.

 

Other views from the bush

 

The general game was fantastic again, with the highlight probably being the Hyena den. The 3 pups are getting so big now. Some small Buffalo herds having been moving around the reserve, but the drought is severely affecting them, and their condition is very poor. Several have died in small pools of water, to the delight of the scavengers. Elephant sightings have also been fairly good, but we anticipate that we’ll be seeing a lot more when the rains return and an electric green blanket covers the Manyeleti.

 

 

Until the next blog

 

darren and the Tintswalo safari Team.

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