Friday, 20 January 2017

The Cat Report 13 - 20 January 2017

Friday the 13th of January

This week’s Cat Report limped into action with Nsuku, one of the Birmingham males. The large male lion spent his day resting in the relative shelter of a small bush near the Vuyatela dam, his walk was labored but there was no obvious injury to any of his legs. Every now and then he’d call forlornly to his fellow coalition mates then gaze hopefully into the wilderness straining his ears for a response. Eventually we left him to his evening business and later reports indicated he had hobbled his way east to Torchwood.

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(A forlorn and injured Nsuku gazes into the wilderness, Screenshot Credit: Agnes Zsiga‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

To the south a spotted surprise lay in store. Hosana and Xongile had been found resting up on a termite mound to the south of our boundary. The visual of the cats was not great, and the cubs lay in abject laziness and barely moved as the afternoon wore on.

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(Hosana wakes for a brief moment before turning over, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Saturday the 14th of January

The next morning the royal family returned to Djuma and settled into a small breakfast of freshly killed grey duiker.  The kill had been stashed in the high boughs of a large tree, the cubs took turns ascending the tree to feed while Karula fussed over her dirty paws and slept in the relative peace of another day in the wild. Later on that afternoon the cubs were found, flat as pancakes, near to the nearly-finished carcass.

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(Xongile resting in the tree tops, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)

To the east, the ever-growing and extremely handsome Quarantine had been found on a massive kill. Quarantine spent the morning feasting to his heart’s delight, the kill itself was too big for him to gracefully hoist into a tree so instead he stashed it as best he could under a nearby bush. Once he had eaten his fill he spent the rest of the day relaxing on a termite mound.

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(Quarantine male leopard resting under a bush, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)

Sunday the 15th of January

Morning arrived with a symphony of roars echoing through the bush. Tinyo had been found meandering along Twin Dams road slowly making his way north. Tinyo took a brief nap, but soon after he was up and at it again. By the time the afternoon rains fell he was making his way past the Djuma pan. He called a few more times before the rain hid him from sight.

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(Tinyo calling out to his brothers in the early light, Screenshot Credit: Linda McCaslin, safariLIVE, Djuma)

On the eastern boundary however Karula was found with intent gleaming in her golden eyes. Like a laser, she was focused on a herd of hapless impala. Her initial stalk was foiled and she then lay out in the middle of a wide clearing. But soon the wind and rain picked up and she seized her opportunity to kill once again. After a heart pounding stalk that seemed to last an age she made her move, yet the nervous impala were just a hair faster than her and she slunk off into the undergrowth.

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(Karula carefully watching a nearby herd of impala, Screenshot Credit: Karen Gilliam, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Monday the 16th of January

The morning day dawned in a haze of pouring rain yet this did not deter the exuberant antics of Karula’s cubs Hosana and Xongile. The little leopards dashed through the bush as spotted streaks as they played relentlessly, they clambered up trees and pounced on each other in the cool weather. Eventually the cats calmed themselves and settled down for a morning nap. Later that afternoon only young Hosana could be found. He spent the entire afternoon sleeping soundly on the top of a termite mound.

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(Young Hosana clambers up a thin branch, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Further to the east Amber Eyes, of the Nkuhuma pride, had been found being tailed closely by Mfumo. The lions wandered through the misty rain looking less than impressed in their soggy state. Mfumo made a few hopeful attempts at seducing Amber Eyes, yet these were met with a growl of aggression and the odd swat of a clawed paw. Eventually the cats made their way east and out of our traverse.

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(A damp and grumpy Amber Eyes walks through the rain with Mfumo, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Wednesday the 18th of January

Two slender spotted lumps lay in wait for the safariLIVE crew today just across the boundary of Mala Mala and Cheetah Plains. The two cheetah brothers had been found making their way across the open plains, yet by the time we got there they were as flat as pancakes. Every now and then one of the brothers would poke his head up to survey his surroundings before slowly drifting back to sleep.

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(Flat cat cheetah pokes his head up to have a look around, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)

A little further to the north of the two cheetah brothers, Thandi and her six month old cub had been found resting in the high boughs of a large tree. Thandi spent most of the blustery afternoon sleeping soundly while her little cub swatted at his tail, trying his best to avoid boredom. Eventually the clouds cleared and the cats were bathed in golden African sunlight. WE eventually left the sighting when it became too dark for a clear view.

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(Thandi’s young cub, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)

Thursday the 19th of January

A spectacular dawn poured bright sunlight over the Sabi Sand as an equally spectacular trio of spotted cats weaved through the southern section of Djuma. Karula and her cubs had finally returned from the south and were found meandering their way about near Treehouse Dam and back to a fresh impala kill Karula had made. Out of nowhere young Hosana appeared with a large and very dead water monitor lizard. It is unclear as to whether he made the kill himself or stumbled upon the giant reptile. He carried the carcass with his head held high and delighted us all with his antics. That afternoon the cats rested in the cooling shade, taking refuge from the blazing sun. Once the day had cooled off the royal family began to wake up, but soon the darkness enveloped them and WE left them to their evening business.

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(Young Xongile rests in the shade twirling tails with Karula, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Friday the 20th of January

The royal family had been found once again frolicking in the ethereal mist that diffused the dawn light. The family appeared to have been enjoying breakfast when we arrived on the scene and each of them took turns nibbling on what was left. Once their tummies were full the cubs played in the long green grass as Karula groomed and kept a motherly eye on them.

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(Karula resting in the long grass keeping a motherly eye on her two cubs, Screenshot Credit: Sandy NY, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

safariLIVE Viewer Profile: Kathleen Vollo


A recent addition to the safariLIVE community, Kathleen Vollo says she has loved nature and "creatures, great and small", as far back as she can remember. "I was taught at an early age about all types of birds and how to identify them by their calls," she says. She came across the live drives on her YouTube homepage as a suggestion.

Her current home has a large backyard, "where a bunch of critters live and birds visit". "I guess you could say I have my own lil' pan."  She spends hours viewing nature around her home from her screened in porch. "I once witnessed a feral cat eat a poor squirrel. Yikes! Never saw something like that before."

These little sightings cement her interest in the wildlife she gets to see on the other side of the globe. Her favourite sightings have been of the young of the various species, including the leopard and lion cubs and new born impala sightings.

Last year, Kathleen performed a rescue mission in her own backyard. "This past summer I was stepping on to my porch and noticed the pool water rippling. I looked and noticed a baby rabbit doing the dog paddle! I quickly got my skimmer and scooped the poor lil thing to terra firma!"

She feels that "if you enjoy animals and nature and warm welcoming people this is the place for you".​safariLIVE and the 'safarian' community, gives thousands of people like Kathleen a window through which to see the world. "Thanks for allowing us to express our love of nature and I want to thank you all for showing us the wonders of South Africa."

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, 13 January 2017

The Cat Report 6 - 13 January

Friday the 6th of January


This weeks Cat Report couldn’t get off to a more exciting start. Just minutes before the sunrise safari kicked off Karula caught an impala lamb just meters from the vehicle. Once she had caught her breath she promptly hoisted the kill and went in search of her two hungry cubs. By the time the sunset safari was coming to a close, young Hosana was feeding hungrily on the carcass.


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(Karula preparing to hoist her fresh impala lamb kill, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)


The Styx pride had also made a return to Djuma on this warm afternoon. WE caught up with the mobile cats as they walked into a dense thicket to take refuge from the blazing sun. All three lionesses were present with their two tiny new cubs. The lions made slow progress to the west throughout the afternoon, stopping every now and then to allow their noisy little fluff balls a chance to suckle.


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(Little Styx cub walks up to mom for a cuddle, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)


Saturday the 7th of January


Karula, Hosana and Xongile were once again found in the early hours of the morning. They were mobile south and as they walked so the cubs bounded and played with each other. Eventually they made their way through a rather dense thicket and we lost sight of them. Later that afternoon both the young princess and prince were found resting near treehouse dam. Xongile was restless and after a short drink set about exploring her surrounding from the tops of various termite mounds.


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(A bored looking Xongile resting on a termite mound, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)


Further to the west the Nkuhuma pride had been found once again on a buffalo carcass. Although only scraps remained the lions still squabbled over meaty bits of bone. Only three lionesses were present with the six naughty lion cubs. One Birmingham male, Tinyo, was also present and created havoc as he chased lionesses off what little of the carcass remained. There was also one brave little female jackal who seized her opportunity to steal from the king of the beasts while all the cats napped off their swollen beefy bellies.


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(Nkuhuma lioness takes a break from feeding and fighting for a drink, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)


WE were fortunate enough to have one more stroke of spotted luck for the day. Thandi had been found resting up on the southern boundary with her young cub feeding on a small nyala kill. Thandi slept peacefully atop a termite mound while her little ball of spotted fluff fed hungrily on what remained of the carcass. Eventually WE left the sighting as these two cats were in popular demand by other eager safari goers.


Sunday the 8th of January


Hosana and Xongile were still knocking about where the Queen had left them. Clearly bored they played and explored until faint contact calls could be heard. Sure enough Karula had returned to fetch her two quickly growing youngsters. Within minutes they had been safely shepherded across the southern boundary and out of sight.


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(Hosana and Xongile waiting patiently for Karula to return, Screenshot Credit: Gail Murphy, safariLIVE, Djuma)


On the western boundary of Djuma and Arathusa the three Styx lionesses and their cubs had been found on a fresh kudu kill. The lionesses fed hungrily and filled their bellies to the point of bursting before dozing off. The cubs rested and took the opportunity for a nibble at the carcass and a chance to suckle whenever they could.


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(Styx lioness, Screenshot Credit: Agnes Zsiga‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)


Monday the 9th of January


A roaring start to the morning with the Nkuhuma pride on a fresh buffalo kill. Only three of the lionesses were present with their six little trouble makers. The lions fed greedily on the carcass before eventually flopping over for a good day nap with full-to-bursting stomachs! Later that afternoon the cats were much the same and WE left them in search of something a little more active.


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(Fat little Nkuhuma cub resting after eating all night, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)


To the far east WE managed to locate young Vutomi on a tiny little tortoise kill. Once he had finished he moved about in search of yet more morning snacks like any other young and quickly growing man. He eventually found an old buffalo carcass and munched away happily at the hard and dry remains.


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(Young Vutomi cleaning some tortoise out of his tooth, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)


Later that afternoon WE were treated to a sighting of Kuchava, Thandi’s oldest independent cub. She was found resting up on Cheetah Plains, soon she became bored and decided to go on a little adventure that lead her straight into trouble. A small rock monitor lizard caught her attention and she swatted at it playfully, the monitor however did not take as kindly to her and with one cracking lash of its powerful tail, Kuchava was sent in the opposite direction. She then spent the rest of the afternoon playing on termite mound and in the tops of trees.


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(Young Kuchava exploring the tops boughs of a marula tree, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)


Tuesday the 10th of January


Some more lion action lay in store for the safariLIVE crew today, well, perhaps “action” is a strong term. The lions were still feeding on their buffalo carcass, not much remained and the only evidence that a buffalo was even there was in the low, round and swinging bellies of the lionesses and the equally as rotund cubs. The cats then flopped in a tawny heap under some thick and shady bushes, sleeping off the remainder of the beefy feast.


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(Nkuhuma lioness licking her rather large chops, Screenshot Credit: Agnes Zsiga, safariLIVE, Djuma)


Wednesday the 11th of January


The sun broke the horizon, crisp and clear as roars of the Birmingham males echoed across the lowveld. WE eventually caught up with three of the dominant males shortly after they went flat on Arathusa. Tinyo, Mfumo and Nenha were all present and looked rather fetching with their salon quality manes gleaming in the morning light. They then spent the majority of the day motionless and asleep, when WE caught up with the big cats later that afternoon they seemed to have barely moved at all!


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(Nenha looking particularly fetching in the morning light, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Arathusa)


Thursday the 12th of January


The morning brought with it an incredible golden sunrise and what better way to appreciate it than with a sighting of Hosana and Xongile moving through the verdant grass in a golden halo. The two cubs stalked and pounced on each other before some unwelcome guests sent them dashing into the tree tops. A group of three spotted hyaena trotted through the area no doubt looking for a few scraps. The two cubs peered down at them curiously before we eventually had to leave the sighting.


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(Young Hosana relaxes on a small termite mound, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)


Later that afternoon WE were treated to a sighting of the Queen herself. Karula was first found on foot and soon a vehicle was called in for a closer look. The Queen sat, regal as ever, in the warm light of yet another hot African day. Yet soon she was up and on the hunt, she wove through the bush trying every which way she could to lose us and eventually she was successful.


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(Queen Karula on the hunt, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)


Friday the 13th of January


Roars broke the pre-dawn silence as Nsuku, one of the Birmingham males called out to his brothers from the Djuma dam this morning. WE rushed to the scene just in time for him to begin his day-long cat nap. The big and impressive male lion lay in all his splendor across the cool sandy road. Eventually he rose and took refuge under a large bush where he spent the rest of the morning napping peacefully.


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(Nsuku resting calmly while waiting to hear from his brothers, Screenshot Credit: Gail Murphy, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

safariLIVE Viewer Profile: Darlene Bond


safariLIVE viewer Darlene Bond, better known as Bush Mum, has become a valued community member on our YouTube channel. She interacts with other chatters, sends in comments and questions, and answers questions about our wonderful wild world. What makes her qualified to do the last of these is that Darlene really is a bush mum. The safarian fosters wild animals, helping them heal and stay wild enough to survive upon their release. She sent in this contribution to our Viewer Profile series.

I owe Safari Live a huge debt of gratitude. My beloved husband, Graham, passed away 3 years ago and I gave up on living. I stopped all work we had done with wildlife and retreated into my shell. Then I found safariLIVE and I had a reason to get up in the morning. Thank you a thousand times safariLIVE, the guides, the cameramen and the ladies behind the scenes as well as all the chatters who have become good friends.

Baby serval

To share a bit of my background and what I’m now doing, I spent every holiday since I was 7 years old in the Kruger Park and have always had a passion for wildlife. I started rescuing anything that needed rescuing from frogs to birds at an early age.

Full of fire.

I married and have one daughter and two grandsons. As soon as my husband and I could, we moved into the bush, where we both worked with wildlife. I lost my husband 3 years ago but I still live on the 30 acre property that we bought in the middle of the bush.

I am a teacher and did everything that teachers do but I spent all my free time working with animals and did a lot of work with various vets. Have done a fair amount of acting on stage and thoroughly enjoyed it (I think that’s why I appreciate James so much). I also have a FGASA qualification but have never had the time to do any serious guiding so I find myself very rusty.

Baby white-tailed mongoose.

I joined a voluntary conservation group many years ago and am now chairman of the local group near where I live. We are involved in anything and everything to do with conservation. It is a small group and we each have our various favorite tasks. Some do alien vegetation control, and removal of snakes from chicken runs and houses and some, the all important, fund raising (we need money to pay the vet for his services). I’m mostly concerned with rescuing wildlife injured or orphaned due to poaching, sorting out problem animals and anti-poaching work. A big part of our work is education and we take children into the bush and expose them to the wonders of nature.

So adorable.

We had to dart and relocate a zebra stallion that had fallen in love with a farmer’s prize Arab mares as he was becoming a perfect pest, trap and relocate a huge bush pig that was terrorising residents in a housing complex and trap and relocate a very big crocodile in a farm dam. These are just a few cases of problem animals in the area.

Oribe, very rare antelope, damaged leg needed massage.

Poaching is a very big problem and we actively set out to arrest poachers. We patrol regularly and sit in ambush. This is dangerous as these poachers are armed however we’ve managed some arrests. The poachers in this area are wealthy and engage in poaching as a sport. They use snares, guns, cross bows and dogs. Sadly most animals are left where they have been killed and we find the carcasses.

Barn owl

My favorite part of the work is the rescue and release of the ones that are orphaned or injured. Rearing a baby antelope is very expensive as they drink a huge amount of milk for example nyala drink 5 to 6 litres (10.5 to 12.5 pints) of milk a day before they are weaned.

Some of the animals I have reared and released are nyala, impala, duiker, owls, many other birds, serval, mongoose, wildebeest, oribi (little antelope), caracal, zebra, pythons, crocodiles, monitor lizards. I only intervene if their plight is due to man e.g. poaching, vehicle accidents etc. The heartbreaking part of all this is to find an animal that is beyond help and has to be shot for example some of the zebras we find in wire snares.

Baby zebra caught in a snare, later released.

My only regret is that I don’t have another 50 years to do this work. If I did I think I’d give the teaching a miss and plunge full time into caring for wildlife. Thank you again to safariLIVE for giving me the will to go on and the hope that I will once again be able to afford to visit the Kruger Park, my favorite place in all the world.

Darlene, it is an honour to count you as a member of our safariLIVE family. Thank you for the work you do, WE are sure the animals that have been given second chances are grateful too.

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, 7 January 2017

The Cat Report 30 Dec 2016 - 6 Jan 2017

Friday the 30th of December


This weeks Cat Report kicks off with a lazy cool afternoon spent with the Nkuhuma pride. Amber Eyes and her Birmingham consort were laying a short distance away from the pride, they mated once every so often. As usual Amber Eyes looked to be less than enamoured with Mfumo yet this did not seem to deter him. Back with the carcass the rest of the pride took it easy, sleeping the afternoon away. Even the cubs were more placid than playful as they relaxed dense verdant thickets.


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(Nkuhuma lioness yawning, Screenshot Credit: Gail Murphy, safariLIVE, Djuma)


Saturday the 31st of December


Dawn found the lions still in their preferred horizontal positions. The cubs however were a little more playful and scampered around while they honed their climbing skill. Amber Eyes was still being kept a safe distance from the pride by Mfumo, her Birmingham suitor. The beefy meal that had been enjoying over the past few days was just about finished, save for the odd scrap here and there. The lions then arose, stretched and slowly edged towards the northern boundary.


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(Sleepy Nkuhuma lioness dozing in the afternoon heat, Screenshot Credit: Ravi Teja, safariLIVE, Djuma)


Further to the south and in the heart of Djuma rested the great Queen, Karula. She had been found reclining in all her regal grace atop the sturdy boughs of a marula tree. There was no sign of the young prince and princess but Karula dozed in a state of total relaxation for the duration of the morning.


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(Queen Karula relaxing in the shade, Screenshot Credit: Ravi Teja, safariLIVE, Djuma)


In complete and absolute contrast to the unconscious cats this morning was the Ngala dispersal pack of wild dogs. Made up of two females and one male the dogs coursed across the northern boundary and straight through Djuma. WE were just barely able to keep up with them as the wove their way through dense thickets. Every now and again they would pause briefly to scent mark and listen to the surrounding bush before dashing off again. Eventually they gave us the slip but left us with our hearts racing and adrenaline pumping.


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(Ngala dispersal pack of wild dogs coursing through the bush, safariLIVE, Djuma)


To the far east on Cheetah Plains, Inkanyeni had been spotted relaxing in the afternoon sun. The stunning leopardess was alone this time with no sign of her young male cub Votumi. She eventually got up and wove her way towards the boundary but not before taking the time to stun us all with the most iconic of leopard sightings as she gracefully scaled a large marula to look upon her surroundings.


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(Inkanyeni looking over the landscape, Screenshot Credit: Claire Armendinger‎, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)


Sunday the 1st of January


Another morning dawned with golden light spilling across the tawny pelts of the Nkuhuma pride. All five lionesses were present along with their six growing cubs. The cats were both flat and fat off the last remaining scraps of their buffalo kill. Full tummies swayed rhythmically as the fat little cubs waddled around playing. Later on that afternoon however the lions decided they had spent enough time on Djuma and  slowly made their way across the northern boundary.


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(Dozy Nkuhuma cub napping in the shade, Screenshot Credit: Ravi Teja, safariLIVE, Djuma)


A short distance away from the pride was yet another member of the Birmingham coalition. It was not however Tinyo or Mfumo, the two big males who usually hang around the pride, this time it was Nenha, the warrior. But it didn’t seem like he was going to be up to much warring today as he spent the morning fast asleep in some cooling shade. By that afternoon he had moved on, no doubt in pursuit of the Nkuhuma pride.


Further to the south, the royal family had been found once again. Queen Karula, Hosana and Xongile were on the move and looking a little peckish. With two fast growing cubs to look after, it’s no wonder that Karula almost always seems to be on the hunt, yet the cubs are learning quickly and have already made a few small kills of their own. The spotted family made their way through the reserve with determination, in a flurry of action Hosana managed to kill a very small warthog, just enough to keep him fed for a day or so. Karula seemed to think that this was as good a place as any to stash the cubs while she went on the hunt once again. With lots to explore and a small porky snack the cubs were more than happy to stay safe and tucked away while mom was out looking for the next meal.


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(Young Hosana tucking into a fresh warthog kill, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)


Monday the 2nd of January


Excitement charged the air with electricity this morning as the safariLIVE crew geared up for their first prime time debut on TV. WE had high hopes of a great morning and of course Karula, Hosana and Xongile were only too happy to oblige! First up was the royal cubs still waiting patiently in the same area for Karula to return ringing the proverbial dinner bell. The cubs passed the time by pouncing on each other, climbing up tiny trees and taking brave nibbles at a foam nest frog nest. Eventually they came to rest as the day began to warm up. Later that afternoon WE were able to catch up with the young princess. She was nestled in thick and shady bush and spent most of the afternoon relaxing. Her brother Hosana was no doubt in the area somewhere but his spotted coat kept him hidden from our vision for the duration of the afternoon.


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(Hosana investigating a frog nest, Screenshot Credit: Linda McCaslin, safariLIVE, Djuma)


A little further west of their location Karula had been spotted on the hunt. She wove her way through the bush with intent, the slightest of movements drawing her precision focus from all angles. Eventually she spotted her target, a young nyala ewe. She began the stalk and just like that it was all over, she had been spotted. The nyala barked out her alarm call and walked definitely towards the spotted huntress. Karula then slunk off and managed to lose us in a dense thicket.


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(Queen Karula looks out over her territory, Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)


A surprise lay in wait for the WE team this afternoon in the form of the Tsalala pride. Three adult lionesses were present with their two subadult males. It seemed the pride had been in pursuit of a large breeding herd of buffalo. By the time WE caught up with them they were on the stalk and patiently waiting for their opportunity to strike. Unfortunately the attempt was foiled by an overeager and under experienced subadult male. He rushed the herd prematurely and sent the buffalo charging off into the distance.


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(Tsalala lioness waiting patiently to strike, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)


Tuesday the 3rd of January


Another morning and another tick on the latest cat streak for the safariLIVE crew. Karula and her two cubs were found moving through a thick block on the edge of the Milwati drainage line. They bobbed and weaved through the dense bush which made tracking them near impossible. Eventually however they came to rest in the shady relief of the drainage line. It is still uncertain as to whether or not the great Queen had been successful on her hunting trip. The cubs played and pounced on on mom, eventually she made a grab at Hosana and was at least successful in giving him a morning bath.


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(Little Xongile resting in the shade, Screenshot Credit: Agnes Zsiga‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)


To the east Quarantine had been found wrapped in the amorous folds of Inkanyeni. The pair mated several times during the sighting, this is as surer sign as any Karula’s young male has finally carved out his own territory on Cheetah Plains. Inkanyeni flirted with the large four year old male relentlessly and was successful in her attempts at seduction.


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(The dashing young Quarantine resting in the shade, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)


A little further to the south on Cheetah plains was another favourite pair of spotted cats. The two cheetah brothers had been found making their way to Mala Mala. WE were able to catch up with them just as they crossed the boundary through a dense thicket of bush. They eventually popped out onto an open plain but went flat almost immediately in the sprawling shade of a large tree.


To top it all off WE had another sighting with the Tsalala pride on Arathusa. It seemed their hunting escapades had left them truly exhausted. The cat napped the entire afternoon away in some thin dappled shade. Eventually WE left as the sun began to set behind the mountains to the west and the lions continued in the sound sleeping.


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(Young male lion from the Tsalala pride rolling over, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Arathusa)


Wednesday the 4th of January


The Nkuhuma pride were discovered resting up near the northern boundary. All five lionesses and six scraggly cubs were present. The cubs scampered around in playful fits before eventually joining the adults for a morning nap. Two of the Birmingham boys were also present at the sighting, and both with amorous intentions. Mfumo had managed to single out a disgruntled Amber Eyes, the pair mated a few times unenthusiastically. Amber tried to edge her way closer to the pride but Mfumo was her ever present shadow. Meanwhile, Tinyo had his sights set on the youngest lioness of the pride yet not much came of his relentless pursuit. To the south a third member of the Birmingham coalition had been found. The long missed Nsuku, aka “Blondie,” had finally returned. He marched forward with intent as he called out softly to his brothers and scent marked any bush that dared grow from the sandy soil. He eventually made his way into a very thick block and managed to give us the slip.


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(A disinterested Amber Eyes Nkuhuma with Mfumo her Birmingham shadow, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)


Later on that afternoon we were once again reunited with the royal cubs. They lay fat and flat under a dense bush near the Djuma pump house, a favourite cub stashing spot of Karula’s. The young prince and princess did not get u to much on the sunny warm afternoon and rather spent their time getting that all important beautyrest, it’s not easy being a leopard cub!


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(Sleepy Hosana resting under a bush, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)


Thursday the 5th of January


Another cool and damp start to the morning, yet for Hosana and Xongile the weather couldn’t be more perfect. The cubs bounded and played to no end, practicing their pouncing and stalking techniques on each other. There was still no sign of Queen Karula, but this didn’t seem to phase her quickly growing offspring. They chased each other for the entire morning jumping in and out of bushes, running through drainage culverts and generally creating chaos with any small animal that dared to move in the area. Later that afternoon WE were only able to locate the young princess as she drank deeply from treehouse dam. She then made her way to the top of a termite mound before disappearing into the darkness.


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(Xongile rests on the top of a termite mound, Screenshot Credit, Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)


A little further north and west the Nkuhuma pride had been found again. This time only the three mother lionesses and cubs were present with Tinyo, one of the dominant males. There appeared to be some kind of commotion to the west and Tinyo sped off away form the pride to check it out. Rumor has it that the Majingilane coalition had come to blows with one of the other Birmingham males but with no confirmed sighting it is difficult to say. Tinyo soon returned to the pride and the lions spent the rest of the morning fast asleep.


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(Nkuhuma cub napping the day away, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)


To top it all off we once again managed to catch up with the Styx pride on Chitwa Chitwa. The sleepy cats dozed the entire afternoon away with their two new precious cubs. Eventually it became too dark for us to remain at the sighting and we left the big cats to their evening business.


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(Little Styx cub gives us a big yawn, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Chitwa Chitwa)