As the Summer gives way to cold crispy mornings we are now heading into Winter mode, fleece ponchos and hot water bottles gives comfort to the brave ones.
Dayone still has the injury on his front left paw, which causes him to limp. This however has not kept him back from stalking and hunting on three legs. He is still not patrolling as much, but it seems to be getting better.
Kashane male was seen a few times doing his usual territorial walk and then disappearing again. He did venture quite a distance into Dayone’s territory, probably because he noticed no recent scent marking or vocalizing in that area.
The Nyeleti male is becoming bolder by the day as he is coming deeper into Dayone’s territory, even scent marking and calling to make his stand in the West. At the moment he is the male that we see most often, almost on a daily basis.
The Torchwood male was seen close to the lodge a few times but still being nomadic due to his age.
We are still not seeing a lot of Hlaba Nkunzi, as she still has her cubs in the East, but she does come and show her face every now and then to let us know she is okay. From reports we know that she does have two cubs. On one afternoon she had a small altercation after she stumbled across a kill Nyeleti had made. He was not too pleased with her.
Scotia female also spent a bit of time in the East, but when we get to see her she does live up the legendary bloodline of Makwela.
Up to date there has been no reported sighting of Metsi. We are all hoping that she is fine and will soon make an appearance.
The Boulders female is still shy of the vehicles but every now and then she does allow one vehicle to get a sighting of her. We found her one morning were she had hoisted up an Impala kill she had made.
Xikavi is doing well and was seen mating a few times. She is also heavily pregnant, so maybe in the near future we will get to see her cubs.
We mostly only found tracks for the Dam 3 female this month, with only a few sightings of her one of which where she mated with Nyeleti.
With the river crossings being damaged we did not get North a lot, but we did get to see Thlangisa on the occasions that we were in the North. Good news is that when we saw her she had suckle marks and was lactating. Fingers crossed for some more new cubs in the West.
The Tasselberry female was seen with about a month old cub, but only once, as she is one of the less relaxed Leopards.[KGVID width=”320″ height=”240″]https://www.leopardhills.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Leopardandcub.flv[/KGVID]
The Ximhungwe pride gave us a bit of a scare as we found where they had an altercation with the Othawa pride. For days after that only the three females and one cub were seen. Luckily they all met up again after a while and seem to be doing extremely well. This month they were found with kills quite often. On one occasion our guests even witnessed one of the kills.
After the altercation with the Ximhungwes, the Othawa pride still spent some time in the North with two of the Selati males. They eventually also moved back south of the river with all eight cubs.
The one Selati male that had the fight with the Majingilane males also seems to be recovering. His two brothers spent most of their time with the Othawa pride with him eventually also catching up to them.
The Majingilane males came back into the West on the last day of the month. They were actively scent marking and vocalising. It seems they are ready to take over the West from the Selati coalition. Interesting times lay ahead for the Lion dynamics in the Western Sector. Hopefully the prides can manage to keep the cubs safe, and that the Selati males can muster up the courage to take on these four Majingilane males.
One of the Southern Pride females was seen in the south on our boundary a few times.
We had a good run with Cheetah this month, with some drives producing four individuals. We had the brother and sister sub-adult pair for almost three weeks in the Western Sector and then the adult female coming in and out of our area and the cherry on top, the adult male also making an appearance.
The Hyena population is on the up with regular sightings during drive. It seems that the age old battle between the Hyena’s and the big cats are back in full swing with sightings of Leopard and Lion kills being stolen by the Hyena’s.
This month we only had one Wild Dog sighting, as they spent most of their time further East. We are hoping to get lucky with the pack coming to den in the Western Sector this Winter.
The general game sightings have been great with big herds of Buffalo and Elephant being seen on numerous occasions. Large herds of Zebra and Wildebeest was seen in the South with the odd rare animal been spotted as well.
Most of the migratory birds have now left for our Winter, heading further North looking for some warmer climates.
The bush is clearing up, colours start to fade and animals are being seen everywhere. What lies in store for us this Winter we don’t know. But we are sure it is going to be a very interesting time ahead!
Written and compiled by Johan de la Rey and Hugo Breed