A few months ago, we posted an update regarding some camera traps we helped set up to monitor leopard numbers in the reserve. The project is being headed up by Nakedi Maputla of the African Wildlife Foundation. The aim of the proposed project is to investigate the drivers of leopard population dynamics in the Greater Kruger National Park ecosystem and includes the direct and indirect effects of bTB (Bovine Tuberculosis).
Large elusive male leopard
The project therefore aims to investigate the extent of bTB infections in both leopards and the other apex predators. The project will be linked to the extant lion and spotted hyena research programmes in the Kruger National Park as well as to the Cheetah Research Project that commenced in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve in late 2009. So far, the camera traps have managed to capture some wonderful shots including shots of the large elusive male leopard that we rarely see, but often find tracks for in and around camp. His rasping call can often be heard echoing along the riverbed as he patrols his domain. There are also some great shots of the Machaton pride and some of the smaller cubs on the move. The camera trap is situated only a couple hundred meters north of the camp, good reason not to walk around at night by yourself. We will ensure that we keep you updated on the project as well as on any worthwhile photo’s that might be taken.
Machaton pride and some of the smaller cubs
On Saturday evening, we were encountered with a wonderful surprise, when we discovered a pride of lion we had not seen before. We found the big five pride on the prowl right across the river from camp.
The pride make-up looked to be 4 mature lionesses, a young male of around 3-4 years of age and 5 lion cubs of varying ages. They were fairly nervous of the vehicles which indicated that they may have come from an area with very little vehicle activity or even the Kruger National Park.
During the night, the pride must have splintered as they proceeded to roar the night away around our tented safari camp. This fantastic serenade continued into the earlier hours of the morning. The pride then moved off and successfully hunted down a buffalo cow and managed to finish the carcass off in only one day!
This provided us with a fantastic opportunity to see the pride feeding and witness a clan of hyenas’ come in and patiently wait their turn in the hope of picking up some scraps. Hopefully they stick around and provide us with some more action packed moments.
We will keep you up to date.
Visit the Save the Elephants South Africa Facebook page and watch the progress of the girls who are ‘Running for Elephants!’
Members of Save the Elephants South Africa will be competing in the Xstrata Long Tom Half Marathon on 26th March 2011 to raise funds for the elephants. Show your support and visit the fan page on Facebook: