Ranger Diary: August & September Newsletter

Tanda - Tula - Ranger view

Spring has arrived and we are all enjoying the warm weather it has brought with it. Various tree species have responded to the change in climate and have already blossomed. The browsers have taken full advantage of this and numerous giraffe and kudu can be seen throughout the property. There have been some magnificent kudu bulls around these majestic animals really do know how to strike a pose! Note the young giraffe suckling bottom left under the watchful eye of its mother.

Tanda- Tula - giraffe and kudu

Lion viewing has been at a premium the last couple of months with a variety of different prides being seen across the reserve. The white lioness pictured above is around two years of age and comes from a large pride in the south western sector of the reserve. This sighting was a real treat for us as we don’t see this pride often so it was a real bonus for all our guests. The other two white lionesses from the “Kubasa” pride who we see on a regular basis inhabit a territory well over thirty kilometres to the North. This proves the white lion gene is well spread across the Timbavati and surrounding reserves very exciting for future generations.

Tanda - Tula - Ranger-Diary-31We have also been seeing two large males to the west of us these impressive looking territorial males share a common boundary with our males and look to be at the peak of their powers. Our resident Machaton pride is doing very well and the remaining seven cubs are thriving.

The lionesses have been very successful over the last couple months taking down a huge variety of game everything from warthog to full grown giraffe. The older litter of cubs now tags along on the majority of hunts undertaken and get try get stuck in where they can.

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Younger Machaton litter

Tanda - Tula - Ranger-Diary-5Our spotted neighbours the elusive leopard have also spoilt us with numerous sightings. From the Rockfig female jumping down from her favourite Marula tree pictured left. To the Ntombi females young male cub trying to dig up mongoose from an abandoned termite mound without success pictured below.

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Ntombi’s young male leopard nicknamed “Umfaana” meaning “Little boy”

Tanda - Tula - Ranger- Dairy 46In recent blog entries we have written about the phenomenal wild dog viewing we’ve experienced over the last couple weeks. We have been very fortunate to witness a number of successful hunts as these rare predators run their unlucky into the ground with their incredible endurance.

Huge herds of buffalo have been seen throughout our traversing area and the predators have taken full advantage of this and we have had a number of buffalo kills by both hyaena and lion!

Tanda - Tula - Ranger-Diary-71We have been well and truly spoilt with fantastic elephant viewing with large herds visiting camp dam on a regular basis. Notice the young calf on the left drinking with his mouth rather than his trunk. These youngsters take a couple years to develop the full use of their trunk.

Spot the young steenbok below its mother to the left! Its natural colouring makes it very difficult to pick up against the light brown background. In the past I have seen these petit little antelope lie absolutely still and remain unnoticed as a leopard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sighting of the Month

Group of Hyaena chasing off some White Backed Vultures while finishing off a giraffe carcass

 

The last couple months have delivered some of the most unbelievable hyaena viewing I have every experienced. The highlight would have to be the sighting of the four hyaena that successfully hunted down and killed an injured buffalo bull. This sighting was difficult to watch as it took the buffalo over an hour to succumb to its injures. The sheer tenacity of this clan of hyaena was something special to witness as they strategically separated the bull from his small bachelor herd before they ruthlessly attacked and killed him.

Head first!!!

 

These predators often get given the scavenger tag but they are very resourceful and given half a chance will weed out any weakness shown. Physically they are incredibly powerful I was amazed how quickly they worked their way through the buffalo carcass. Below is a large female hyaena carrying off part of a giraffe’s rib cage to stash for a later date.

Take Aways.

 

Complied by Dale Jackson

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