August has yet again been another astonishing month for sightings. It seems with the August winds comes an early Spring, as the heat is already upon us.
The Ximhungwe pride only spent about a week in the South. During that time they made two Zebra kills, one of which was close to the Hyena den site, and were soon chased off that kill by the clan. For the rest of the month they were seen high up in the north, hanging around in the riverbeds.
The Othawas, especially the cubs have been providing us with amazing sightings. All of them are doing extremely well. On one occasion a Selati Male even babysat the cubs while the Females went hunting. With the Females making quite a lot of kills, the cubs are getting some good experience with opening up of the carcasses. The cubs are getting bigger each day.
The four Selati brothers were seen all over the West this month. On one occasion they had killed a Buffalo close to the Sand River. They however did not spend too much time together. A couple of them were also seen mating with one of the Othawa Females.
The beautiful Dayone male, being dominant in the greater part of our traversing area, always gives us awesome sightings for the fact that he is almost always up and doing something. We had him hunting in front of the vehicle and also doing his normal territorial marking as he walks along the roads. He was also quite the ladies’ man over the last couple of weeks as we saw him mating first with Metsi then Hlaba Nkunzi and then the Dam3 Female.
Kashane spent most of his time in the East, and was only seen a couple of times in the West. He is bearing a scar on his face, which is probably from a fight with another Male Leopard.
The Tai Dam Male was seen a few times up North of the River. He is looking good and filling out nicely to become a big Male and definitely a huge force to be reckoned with for other Male Leopards in the North.
The Ravenscourt Youngster was seen a few times deep into the Western Sector. After losing his mother a few months ago he is coping on his own and in good condition. He had a bit of interaction with one of the Selati males, and was seen up in a tree one morning with the Selati Male still under the tree where he found refuge. In true fashion of his mother’s behaviour he is very relaxed, and let’s hope he finds a spot to establish a territory in our traversing area.
Nyeleti wasn’t seen spending too much time in the Western Sector this month.
The beautiful Thlangisa, one of Mambiri’s cubs, use to reside in the area around Camp, but after getting pressure from her sister Metsi and the Dam 3 Female, she pushed North of the River into an unclaimed area. This is unfortunately not the best area for us to always find her, but when we find this relaxed girl it is always a treat as she is living up to her name, that means “The Playful One”. She is also heavily pregnant at this stage, so in the near future we might see some small spotted creatures in the North.
The Dam 3 Female is one of our less relaxed Leopards in the area, but over the last couple of years she has relaxed enough so that we can get a decent glimpse of her, and this month we had a rare sight of her drinking water in a rock pool right next to the vehicle, giving us chance to even observe that she is lactating.
Metsi being her usual elusive self only showed herself to us a few times this month, one of the times being when she was mating with Dayone. We have had glimpses of her cub that is doing just fine, but sadly a bit shy due to the fact that she has not had too much exposure to our vehicles.
Hlaba Nkunzi gave us amazing viewing time of her and the cub as per usual, but she stunned us by leaving her Eleven month old cub alone for almost a week to mate with the Dayone. Fortunately she then returned to the cub that was patiently waiting on her mom’s return.
We are in the very fortunate position that for the last month, the Wild Dogs were almost seen on a daily basis due to the fact that this is the denning season for them, and they have chosen a safe den site in means of an old abandoned termite mound witch the Alpha Female chose and then excavated to be a fitting home for the puppies. We have up until now seen Seven pups out of the den. The Female can have between 1 and 15 pups in a litter.
We have had some amazing sightings of the Hyenas with great interaction between them, Lion and Leopard, showing us how good they are at manipulating a situation to benefit out of it by usually running away with a prized piece of meat. The den site is also still active and is giving us good viewing of the different aged cubs being bold enough to come and play right next to the vehicle.
The Young Male Cheetah came to visit for a day at the end of the month, and then headed back East.
As always the other animals have supplied us with as much entertainment as the rest.
Birding this month has also been good. We are looking forward to the return of all the migrant species.
And last but not least our video compilation for the month.
[FMP width=”640″ height=”360″]https://www.leopardhills.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/August2013Compilation.flv[/FMP]
With the trees starting to blossom and Spring rapidly approaching we look forward to new beginnings in the form of cubs, pups and even fawns.
Written and compiled by Johan de la Rey and Hugo Breed