Friday, 25 November 2016

The Cat Report: 19 - 25 November

19 November 
As it would have it, Saturday proved yet again to be a Caturday. On one hand we had the Queen of Djuma with her heirs feeding on an adult male duiker. As the morning progressed the little royal family are well fed - they took on the Afrikaans age old saying of  ‘magies vol, oegies toe’ - meaning tummies full, eyes closed. 


[Screenshot: Toni Dalton]

It was with heavy hearts that WE discovered the Nkuhumas with two ailing lionesses experiencing the same symptoms the cubs had. It was confirmed that what is plaguing the lion pride is in fact White Muscle Disease. Amber Eyes was one of the adults showing symptoms and moved stiffly with the pride followed by the four cubs who were now too showing symptoms.


[Screenshot: Toni Dalton]

20 November
Karula flaunted her mothering skills on a sunny morning - she had caught a baby nyala and WE watched as she tactfully hoisted it into a tree. She called for her two young ones, WE seem confused WE thought that she had left the cubs approximately 2 kilometers away from where she was . Suddenly Hosana popped himself out of Jurie’s garden, and fed in a frenzy - ignoring the fact that he had eaten the night before. Xongile finally decided to join her mother and brother later in the day. She shyly snacked on the remainder of the carcass. She and Karula shared a comforting scene with Karula showing off her loving side as she groomed Xongile affectionately.

[Screenshot: Sue Templeton Deschene]

Another leopard decided to make our Sunday extra special. Tingana, after being tracked by Jamie was found resting in the shade in Arathusa. Later in the day Brent found Tingana hungry and moving at great speeds. Tingana decided that WE had seen enough of him and swiftly disappeared into Buffelshoek.  

[Screenshot: Tingana Male Leopard Facebook page]

21 November
The day had rapidly moved on without a single sighting of a big cat. So it was with great relief that WE found the Nkuhumas. The tawny cats were flat and so WE did not jump to conclusions on how they were fairing in the battle against White Muscle Disease. The only solace was that the remaining 6 cubs were suckling, all adult females were there and they were huddled closely together. 

[Screenshot: Agnes Zsiga]

22 November
Tuesday greeted us with a strong glimmer of hope. WE found four of the Nkuhumas and all six of the cubs. They were not walking with the confident strides that WE had become accustomed to in the past months but they were definitely walking more smoothly than they had been in the last few days of tragedy.  When dusk settled in, the lions were bursting from the seams after feeding on a buffalo that had been caught earlier that day. They eased naturally into a cuddle of cubs and dozed off looking cautiously content with their day. 

[Screenshot: Sue Templeton Deschene]


23 November
The morning was filled with threatening clouds and vibrating colours. Mfumo and Tinyo thought this was an opportune moment to poise for a regal photo. The male lions reflected each other and if it was not for their distinctive markings WE would not have known who was who.


 [Screenshot: Lily Brown]


24 November
The threatening clouds finally split their seams and raindrops burst from them, falling rapidly to the ground. 

All the way in Cheetah Plains Jamie braved the rain for a sighting well worth her dampened clothes and chattering teeth - the new litter of Styx cubs. The bundles of spotty, fuzzy fur were content, even in the rain, as they suckled form mom and spoiled us with our first sighting of them.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Mfumo took reprieve from the heat from the day by sitting in the downpour. He seemed to relish in the shower and sat silently at the dam slowly filling up. Eventually he started to contact call and then roar powerfully, perhaps in hope of finding his coalition members to enjoy the rain with. 


[Screenshot: @WoodSarahMa]

25 November: 
The sight WE were treated to for a Friday morning was most welcome. Brent came across six very full and fat cubs, along with Tinyo, Mfumo and all five Nkuhuma lionesses. The lions were looking to stronger and healthier, feeding and picking at the remains of another claimed buffalo carcass. 
[Screenshot: Lily Brown]


The scene was not peaceful for long when suddenly cubs scattered and took refuge on a termite mound as their potential fathers, Tinyo and Mfumo had a small scuffle over girlfriends, as usual. Tinyo decided to take leave and followed Amber eyes and the youngest lioness. WE followed them to their roadblock spot for the day and eventually let the sleeping cats lie
[Screenshot: Lily Brown]




Wednesday, 23 November 2016

safariLIVE Viewer Profile: Leon De Waal Louw


Semi-retired pilot, and wanderer of wild spaces, Leon De Waal-Louw, is a frequent visitor to Kruger and a devoted safariLIVE viewer. He has joined us on drive for the past seven months, and found us on YouTube after an "internet stumble".

Leon and his wife Alli own a Land Rover Shorty that features some enhancements that enable them to go off road when possible, in some of the most beautiful reserves in southern Africa. "The vehicle is fully rigged to be self contained, and I added a Land Rover Discovery auto gearbox so that my wife could enjoy driving it."

Leon's modified Land Rover which travels the bush. - photo credit: Leon De Waal-Louw

In the cockpit of the 4x4 enthusiast's vehicle. - photo credit: Leon De Waal-Louw

Now that the pair have discovered safariLIVE they can go adventuring every day. "Both my wife and I love game viewing. The live cams mean you can watch out for animals whenever it suits, without having to leave the home!" Leon says they've been to every camp of the Kruger National Park, visited the Sabi Sand, Londolozi and Mala Mala. They've also been to the Kgalagadi Transfontier Park, between Botswana and South Africa, an astounding ten times!

He has started a bird list in recent months, recording the birds seen live on drive and the Djuma Dam cam. His current total is at 122 birds and counting. "A lot of credit should go to the guides, as they often excitedly point to these little, and sometimes large, wonders." The drives have also given him and his wife the chance to see live kills, something they hadn't experienced in all their years of bushwhacking. 

Leon has become an involved member of the WildEarth community and feels that safariLIVE is a "wonderful experience". "It is a wonderful opportunity to experience real time wild life viewing at no cost! Thanks to WE!"

If you have an interesting story to tell about your #safariLIVE or WildEarth experience, and would like to be featured in a future #safariLIVE Viewer Profile, contact us with your contributions, photo and video submissions at mystory@wildearth.tv. You could be interviewed next!



Friday, 18 November 2016

The Cat Report 11 - 18 Nov

Friday the 11th of November

The sunset safari was once again filled to the brim with big cat action. Jamie managed to catch up with two of the Birmingham males, Tinyo and Mfumo, both still present at the site of the Nkuhuma pride’s latest kill. The lionesses and cubs themselves were nowhere to be seen. The two big males however fed and relaxed in the peace of the reprieve of a cooler day. As the dark and cloudy sky began its descent into the night the big males began to contact call and roar into the gathering darkness.

1 Tinyo 11 Nov PM.jpg
(Birmingham male, Tinyo, looks into the light, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Saturday the 12th of November

The next morning brought with it another lion sunrise. Yet only one Nkuhuma lioness and five cubs were visible through the dense thicket they had chosen to rest up in. Later that afternoon the lions had moved out into a visible area where WE were finally able to get a good look at our favourite lion characters. Only two lionesses and five cubs were present as the tawny cats ambled their way down to a muddy puddle for an evening drink.

2 Nkuhuma cub 12 nov AM.jpg
(Nkuhuma cub plays in a thicket, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Not far from where the Nkuhuma pride had been resting up was one of the Styx lionesses in the throws of passion with Mfumo, one of the dominant male lions in the area. The pair were mostly flat and sleepy for the duration of the afternoon. Yet the mere fact that the Styx lioness and Birmingham male are together creates great hope and promise for the future of the Styx pride. Having seen these lionesses mating in the past few weeks indicates that within the next three months WE could see a new generation of Styx cubs being brought into the wilderness.

3 Styx lioness 12 Nov pm.jpg
(Styx lioness relaxing in the shade, Screenshot Credit: Agnes Zsiga‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Sunday the 13th of November

The morning began cold and cloudy once again, and this time the sombre morning mood was intensified by the discovery that one of the Nkuhuma cubs was missing. Reports from the night indicated that the lions had tried and failed to take down a fully grown hippo. Although nothing is confirmed, it was suggested that perhaps the cub had been separated during the hunt. The rest of the cubs and one lioness were found standing regally upon the Vuyatela dam wall. Soon however the cats made their way into a dense thicket and WE left the lions to continue with their daily business. Later on that afternoon it seemed two more lionesses had reunited with the pride. Yet there were still only seven cubs visible in the sighting. Reports came in indicating that Amber Eyes and the youngest Nkuhuma lioness were with Tinyo, one of the Birmingham males. WE watched the cats sleep off the miserable weather and eventually left when the sighting became too dark.  

2 Nkuhuma pride 12 Nov PM.jpg
(Nkuhuma pride stop for a drink, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)

On a happier note, Queen Karula and her two cubs were located on Djuma this morning. The royal threesome made their way through the bush from termite mound to termite mound where they would spend a few minutes relaxing and taking in their surroundings. Eventually the spotted trio came upon a herd of impala. Hunting instincts engaged and the cats went into stealth mode, the impala however, were not so easily fooled. They caught a glimpse of a golden, rosette covered pelt and dashed into the bush snorting with indignation. Later that afternoon when WE returned, only the little princess was visible. It seemed Karula had left the cubs on the safety of a termite mound while she scoured the landscape alone looking for a meal. Eventually young Hosana popped his head up and the young prince and princess played with enthusiasm until it was too dark for us to stay any longer.

5 Xongile 13 nov PM.jpg
(The young princess Xongile on a termite mound watching her brother, Screenshot Credit: Ravi Teja, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Monday the 14th of November

Another wet start to the sunrise safari as the safariLIVE crew headed out in the gloomy dawn of another African day. The mood set by the grey clouds reflected the truly heart breaking sighting of the morning. After kicking off the morning with a sighting of the Nkuhuma pride, still one cub short, WE received word that one of the Birmingham males was having a drink at the pan. Brent raced over and managed to catch up with Mfumo as he jogged off through some thick bush. WE stuck with him and eventually he came to a halt at a single Nkuhuma lioness. She was staring intently into a small ravine and contact calling constantly. Soon WE could hear strained and distressed calls in return. Brent shifted forward ever so slightly and found the missing cub in a heart wrenching state. The cub was lying in the centre of a muddy wallow, surrounded by massive male lion tracks. Upon closer inspection it became clear that the cub was paralysed from its waist to it’s black tail tip. The cub called constantly to it’s mother for some relief. The lioness responded by approaching the cub and nudging it gently encouraging it to follow. But it was no use, the cub was unable to stand or even sit up so instead it cried out in fear and pain. Eventually Brent left the sighting, unable to bare the tragic scene any longer. Later that afternoon he returned to find the cub in the same state. WE spent only a few brief moments there before leaving and returning to the rest to the pride. This time all five lionesses were present with Mfumo. They slept off the miserable cloudy day and just as the sunset safari came to a close Mfumo treated us to a mighty roar.

6 Nkuhuma lioness 14 Nov AM.jpg
(Nkuhuma lioness watches over her injured cub, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)

On a lighter note WE were treated to a sighting of some of safariLIVE’s favourite brothers. The unnamed cheetah coalition were found making their way across the vast open spaces on Cheetah Plains. The brother were full to bursting, it was a wonder as to how they were even able to move their slender (yet extremely) round bodies across the plains. Eventually they crossed the southern boundary into Mala Mala were the rested for the rest of the day. When Jamie returned to the area later that afternoon the two brothers were lying fat and flat on the open plains of Mala Mala, looking rather like to spotted beach balls! They glanced over their shoulders which only contributed further to the comical sight. Jamie didn’t stay long with the brothers as the cloudy day gathered darkness leading into a gloomy night.

7 Cheetah brothers 14 nov AM.jpg
(Not-so-sleek-and-slender cheetah brothers making their way across the plains, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)

Tuesday the 15th of November

Another dawn in gloomy atmosphere, light rain drifted relentlessly from the sky as thick clouds blocked the sun’s radiant light. James’s first stop for the morning was to check on the injured cub, sadly, there seems to have been little change over night. The stillness of the dying cub was broken only by the rapid rise and fall of it’s chest as it’s breathing became shallower and more labored. James barely spent five minutes at the tragic scene before moving on to catch up with the rest of the pride about a mile to the north. The lions seemed intent on sleeping out the worst of the cold, wet morning and did so with the expertise that only comes from a lifetime of practicing 20 hour naps. That afternoon WE received a report that was relieving in it’s devastation, mercifully the paralysed cub had passed on during the day. Yet the heartache is not yet over for either us or the lions. When the muscular tawny cats eventually rose from their afternoon slumber and began to head off it seemed there was a second cub in the pride afflicted with a similar condition. One of the cubs refused to get up, or indeed move that much. Once again, the cubs mother approached the youngster and nudged it gently encouraging it to follow the pride. Yet this was to no avail. Brent stuck with the Birmingham male, Mfumo, on the move not wanting to miss any of the potential action. This gamble soon paid off, as the big male made his way into a nearby drainage he was greeted by his coalition mate, Tinyo. Initially the pair seemed most content in each other's company before chaos took over. Out of nowhere the massive males began to fight viciously, so much so that the Nkuhuma lionesses joined in the scrap swiping at both of them until the fight was over. The lions then settled into a moody stillness broken only by angry growls of warning.

8 Mfumo 15 Nov PM.jpg
 
(Mfumo stretches out his muscular, tawny body before fighting with Tinyo, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)


To the south the little prince and princess of Djuma had been found. Huddled together against the cold wet wet morning, Hosana and Xongile struck miserable little poses in the constant drizzle. Hosana, clearly in a state of discomfort, became restless and paced around his sister trying and failing to find a dry comfy spot to rest up and wait for Karula. Once he had settled the cubs barely made a move, clearly not wanting to get any wetter than they already were. Later that afternoon, they had managed to conceal themselves so expertly that no one was able to relocate them.

9 Hosana 15 nov am.jpg
(A wet and unimpressed looking Hosana gazing into the bush, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)

They may, however, have been another reason as to why the cubs were nowhere to be found. A dispersal pack of three adult wild dogs came coursing through the area leaving a trail of pendemonium in their wake. It appeared to be the Lower Sabi dispersal pack comprising of two adult males and one female. The dogs coursed through the bush at top speed looking for any prey item to terrorise. Jamie managed to keep up with them as they wove their way through thicket after thicket. Eventually they disappeared into a viciously thick block and Jamie left, allowing them the silence they so desperately need to hunt.

10 lower sabi pack nov 15 PM.jpg
(Lower Sabi wild dog pack on the move, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Wednesday the 16th of November

Another difficult day for the lions began with yet more gloomy weather. WE caught up with three of the Nkuhuma lionesses, five of their cubs and one of the Birmingham males. It seems yet another cub has succumbed to whatever mystery ailment is currently afflicting the gorgeous youngsters. The rest of the cubs were tucked away behind a dense thicket and they snoozed peacefully. Later on that afternoon the sun came out and the day grew hot, Brent returned to the lions to find them all sleeping off the heat of the day. This time a second Birmingham male had joined the pride. The cats barely moved and only showed a few signs of life as the sun began to set beyond the western horizon and the final minutes of the sunset safari came to a close.

MWSnap299 2016-11-16, 09_58_30.jpg
(Mfumo in the afternoon light, Screenshot Credit:Karen Gilliam, safariLIVE, Djuma)

To the south a more pleasant scene played out with Queen Karula and her two cubs. Early that morning Karula had managed to capture a small nyala lamb. The lamb was still alive as she returned to the cubs. Young Hosana then approached his gorgeous slender mother and she presented him with the incapacitated lamb. As difficult as things are in the wild, this provided a perfect opportunity for Hosana to refine his hunting and killing skills. He pounce on the lamb and it was all over within a matter of minutes. The cubs then exploded with excitement and pounced on the carcass repeatedly while Karula watched on. Later that afternoon both mother and cubs were settled in and looking rather well fed. Upon arrival Jamie found Karula and Hosana relaxing while Xongile greedily devoured the carcass. Eventually Xongile finished her meal and joined her mother and brother for a few moments before all three cats were up and off.

MWSnap135 2016-11-16, 09_16_15.jpg
(Young Hosana peering curiously from behind some verdat bush, Screenshot Credit: Karen Gilliam, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Thursday the 17th of November

It was a quiet start to the day for the safariLIVE crew. The Nkuhuma pride had made their way north during the night and were reported to be on a fresh buffalo kill the next morning. Yet despite the lack of big cat action for the morning the afternoon was full of our favourite felines! WE started off with some long missed safariLIVE favourites. The Tsalala pride had been found nestled in the shade on Arathusa. At least two lionesses and three young subadult males were present at the sighting. The afternoon was warm and sunny and therefore the cats were taking a shady reprieve on top of a termite mound. As the afternoon wore on the cats made their way to-and-fro from a nearby pan where they quenched their thirst. Eventually it came to time to leave the big cats as the sun began to set over the western horizon.

13 Tsalala young male 17 Nov PM.jpg
(Tsalala sub adult male gazing into the distance, Screenshot Credit: Gail Murphy, safariLIVE, Arathusa)

To the north, Tingana had been found, also resting in the cooling relief of a shady termite mound. He remained in this static state from quite some time until eventually he rose, yawned and slowly made his across the western boundary and into Djuma. He looked to be in great condition despite his empty belly. Jamie spent as much time as she could with the dominant male before he eventually melted into the darkening bush.

14 Tingana 17 Nov PM.jpg
(Tingana the dominant male leopard, Screenshot Credit: Gail Murphy, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

safariLIVE Viewer Profile: Bri Maestas


Animal lover Bri Maestas is a recent addition to our safariLIVE viewer family. The drives were a chance discovery on YouTube, and Bri has been along with us ever since. "The guides are a joy to watch, I love the live answer and question format, and the YouTube chat is quite a lot of fun.," says Bri.

An admissions coordinator for the University of Colorado, she enjoys predator sightings and would love to see them in person one day. "The hyenas and wild-dogs have been amazing, but on the recent Mara extended drive, seeing the river crossing and the crocodiles chasing animals was an absolute amazing thing to witness." She considers Djuma Private Game Reserve her favourite location.

Bri has become a champion for the drives, waxing lyrical about the wonders of safarLIVE to all she knows. "I recommend it to everyone! I would hope everybody would have the opportunity to witness and experience this, as it's happening! safariLIVE is very special, and has become near and dear to my heart! I couldn’t imagine my days without it, and I'd like that feeling to be felt by all my friends and family."

If you have an interesting story to tell about your #safariLIVE or WildEarth experience, and would like to be featured in a future #safariLIVE Viewer Profile, contact us with your contributions, photo and video submissions at mystory@wildearth.tv. You could be interviewed next!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

safariLIVE November rehearsals time changes and schedule

It’s that time once again safarians! WE are going into yet another set of rehearsals from 14 - 17 November, WE is heading back to primetime television in 2017 on Nat Geo WILD! More information on this news to follow in the coming months. But in order to make sure WE are giving you the BEST live interactive safari experience possible, WE need a little more practice. Please note that we will be doing both public and private rehearsals during this time, culminating in a LIVE television broadcast on Thursday the 17th of November.

We will be going LIVE to Nat Geo WILD across the United States for the once off televised and completely LIVE, African safari experience but WE will also still be on your screens from all our usual online platforms. WE are absolutely bursting with excitement and can’t wait to share a few of our new tricks with YOU both on TV and online.
Private rehearsals mean there will be NO safariLIVE broadcast during those times.

Please find the schedule and time changes for you time zone in the table below: 

Date
safariLIVE
CAT
GMT
Date
EST
PST
Monday 14th November
Sunrise safari
NORMAL DRIVE
5:00am - 8:00am
3:00am - 6:00am
Sunday 13th November
22:00pm - 1:00am
19:00pm - 22:00pm
Sunset safari
PRIVATE REHEARSAL
16:00pm - 18:00pm
13:00pm - 15:00pm
Monday 14th November
9:00am - 11:00am
6:00am - 8:00am
Tuesday the 15th of November
Sunrise safari
NORMAL DRIVE
5:00am - 8:00am
3:00am - 6:00am
Monday 14th November
22:00pm - 1:00am
19:00pm - 22:00pm
Sunset safari PUBLIC
REHEARSAL
16:00pm - 18:00pm
13:00pm - 15:00pm
Tuesday 15th November
9:00am - 11:00am
6:00am - 8:00am
Wednesday the 16th of November
Sunrise safari
NORMAL DRIVE
5:00am - 8:00am
3:00am - 6:00am
Tuesday 15th November
22:00pm - 1:00am
19:00pm - 22:00pm
Sunset safari
PRIVATE REHEARSAL
16:00pm - 18:00pm
13:00pm - 15:00pm
Wednesday 16th November
9:00am - 11:00am
6:00am - 8:00am
Thursday the 17th of November
Sunrise safari
NORMAL DRIVE
5:00am - 8:00am
3:00am - 6:00am
Wednesday 16th November
22:00pm - 1:00am
19:00pm - 22:00pm
Sunset safari
LIVE TO NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC WILD
16:00pm - 18:00pm
13:00pm - 15:00pm
Thursday 17th November
9:00am - 11:00am
6:00am - 8:00am
Friday the 18th of November
Sunrise safari
CANCELLED


Thursday 17th November


Sunset safari
NORMAL DRIVE
16:00pm - 19:00pm
13:00pm - 16:00pm
Friday 18th November
9:00am - 12:00pm
6:00am - 9:00am