Ranger’s Blog

A Safari With Soul
15 Jan

3-5 Nov 2016 – The drought devastates, but the predators still thrive.

Lion

 

Mbiri pride

 

One of the older Mbiri Lionesses was found with Skorro thanda Impi male on a Buffalo carcass, on Catwalk west on the 4th. He was clearly more interested in her than the meal though. Later, on the afternoon of the 4th, 3 of the other Lionesses were found just on the other side of the drainage line. The 2 older Lionesses are clearly showing signs of pregnancy, and we’re expecting cubs in the near future.

The Claw! ISO 640, f11, 1/400sec

 

Thanda Impi male Lions

 

We only had the two sightings of the Skorro male, with the Mbiri pride on catwalk west. He was sporting a damaged eye, probably after an altercation with the Sizanani male, over the females. He was however happily feeding, and enjoying the company of the 4 Lionesses. Not a bad life for him at the moment. The question still haunts the subject. Are these males able to defend 2 prides? At around 8-9 years old, they’re definitely approaching the twilight years of a dominant male Lion coalition. With a bit of luck, they might just raise a second litter of cubs with the Mbiri pride.

 

Unidentified male Lions

 

There was one sighting of an unidentified young male Lion on Hippo rocks in the north. It could have been the young male from the Mohlawareng pride, or possibly one of the Avoca sub-adult males. Unfortunately no photos were taken, so we can only speculate.

 

Leopard

 

Rhulani male Leopard

 

On the afternoon of the 3rd, we relocated the Rhulani male Leopard close to the airstrip. We spent the entire afternoon with him, and eventually as the sun was setting, he made a move to the west. He is looking well fed, and nice and strong. Its interesting that ever since the return of the Beacon male, we are finding Rhulani patrolling the area around the lodge again. He definitely has something to fight for at the moment. The Sable bridge female will probably be looking to mate again soon. Her 2 sub-adults have been spending time in the area as well. So thats 2 more females in the same area. A very fruitful area to try and win back. We found him the next day to the northern part of his territory, at Leopards drift.

 

Beacon male

 

The day after Rhulani was seen close to the airstrip, we found the Beacon camel leopard in a jackal berry on panicum. Its pretty much true to form. These 2 males often pitch up, in the same vacinity a day later. This is going to be very interesting to see the outcome of this latest display war. The last time it was Rhulani that came out the victor, but Beacon looks fit and rejuvenated.

A frame within a frame. The big and beautiful beacon male leopard. ISO 800, f7.1, 1/400sec

 

Cheetah

 

We had one brief sighting of a single Cheetah on Panicum, but it moved south at a fair pace.

 

Other views of the bush

 

A millipede slips past a sleeping Rhulani.

The scavengers have been cashing in on the drought, which has had a devastating affect on the Buffalo population in particular. ISO 640, f9, 1/800sec

A secretary bird stalks across the bare ground, of a drought stricken Buffalo plains. ISO 400, f8, 1/1000sec

 

Until the next blog

 

Darren and the Tintswalo Safari team

 

 

 

 

 

 

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