Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The Cat Report 17 - 25 June


Friday the 17th of June

It’s time for a big cat catch-up yet again. The air was electric with excitement and anticipation as the radio crackled into life with reports of a young male leopard making his way through Djuma. He wasn’t just any leopard however, the cumbersome tracking collar gives the game away, Sindile has returned to the Northern Sabi Sands. James and Wium made haste and soon WE were reunited with Shadow’s only independent cub. Sindile made his way through the dense block taking the odd opportunity to rest up in a patch of sun on a termite mound. He has certainly grown quite substantially since his stint in rehabilitation. The golden colour of his coat was enhanced by the sun as his blue-green eyes scanned the landscape. Soon he moved on using the thickness of the undergrowth to expertly conceal himself from prying human eyes.

sindile 17 june am .jpg
(Sindile, Screenshot Credit: Gail Murphy, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Saturday the 18th of June

A roaring start to the day with two of the Nkuhuma pride lionesses. Initially it was thought the possible new moms were making their way back towards potential den sites. They were determinedly walking through the bush as the first pale gold rays of dawn light illuminated the bush. It’s clear from the red tinges on their damp, tawny coats as well as their swollen bellies a good meal was had. The lionesses soon disappeared into a steep and shadowy series of drainage lines. Yet after some patient searching WE managed to catch-up with the committed cats.They continued on each step more committed than the last. The lionesses took us on quite an off-road journey and eventually to the discovery of a buffalo carcass. In a twist of fate as only an African tale would have it the lionesses were unable to enjoy any more of their hunting spoils. The Djuma hyaena clan are there in force, excited whoops and giggles emanate from the surrounding bush before the lionesses slink past, ears flat in fury, their prize stolen.

nkuhuma lioness 18 june am.jpg
(Nkuhuma lioness, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

For the time being it seemed the hyena’s had won the battle of the buffalo kill. However, this is the wild and anything can happen at any time. The safariLIVE crew had a big afternoon ahead of them as the first of the live televised Father’s Day weekend special safari’s was about to unfold on National Geographic Wild. Jamie and Bryan saddled up and made their way back to the kill site, eager the find out if any more action had unfolded during the course of the unusually warm winter’s day. Upon arrival only a few of the smaller clan members were present crunching their way through what little remains were left. The hyena’s left one-by-one as each had eaten their fill until only one clan youngster remained. Out of no-where an aggressive blur of spots exploded out of the yellow undergrowth. Mvula’s charge had been successful and what once belonged to lions and hyaena now belonged to the leopard. Although the former dominant male leopard is no longer in his physical prime he spirit is as strong as ever. He devoured what he could in the brief time the hyena were scattered. But soon the hyaena had regrouped and reinforcements flooded the area. Mvula, a black and gold streak of lightning bolted into the nearest tree while the hyena’s swarmed at it’s base showing off their success by waving the odd buffalo bits in a taunting manner at the leopard. Eventually the scene calmed and Mvula was able to make his way off into the gathering darkness as the hyena’s slept off a victorious food coma.

mvula 18 june 2016 pm.jpg
(Mvula, Screenshot Credit: Marieke van Nistelrooij‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)  

To the West an epic and tragic tale was unfolding. Sindile, the prince of leopards, had been found again. He was not alone this time, he had managed to reunite with his mother, Shadow. The attempted reunion however was tainted as Shadow continually hissed and snarled at her long lost son. Her ears flat and her hackles up she charged at her grown up cub constantly preventing him from approaching her. Sindile kept his distance, seemingly confused as to his mother’s reaction. Shadow then began to call out to her newest little cub, Sindile reacting with his own submissive calls at a loss as to why she would be calling him and then chasing him. The ritual between the leopards was grueling and emotions ran high as the sighting unfolded. Shadow’s constant panicked calls grew louder and more agitated as the afternoon wore on yet there was no sign of her cub.

sindile 18 june 2016 pm.jpg
(Sindile, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)‎

Sindile, exhausted flopped onto a termite mound and took a moment to rest. Shadow finally had her opportunity and while Sindile was preoccupied she sped out of the area. Brent, not wanting to miss a single moment of action followed closely to a jaw dropping sighting. Shadow’s newest cub was alive and well, waiting patiently for her mom and calling out for her protection. The pair reunited and wasted no time moving on and away from Sindile as fast a possible.

Shadow and cub 18 june 2016 pm.jpg
(Shadow’s cub [left] & Shadow [right], Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Arathusa)

Sunday the 19th of June

The dawn was red and warm. It seemed as though summer had crept back into the Northern Sabi Sands over the Father’s Day weekend. The great open spaces on Cheetah Plains were bathed in golden morning light as two of the fastest mammals on earth patrolled their territory. The two unnamed cheetah brothers glided through what little grass remained in the dry season, scent marking as they went. The leader of the coalition seemed to be walking with a rather pronounced limp, the injury most likely incurred during a hunting attempt. Yet despite his clear discomfort while walking, the sleek and slender cat still managed to lightly ascend a termite mound and gaze across the wilderness. The brothers slowly made their way south eventually crossing into Mala Mala and lying up in some soothing shade.

cheetah coalition 19 june 2016 am.jpg
(Unnamed cheetah coalition, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)

The luck of the leopard seemed to be favouring the safariLIVE crew. During the second and last of the televised safari’s WE were able to locate Sindile yet again. This time the sub-adult leopard was in very close proximity to the hub of all the safariLIVE action, lying up only a few hundred meters from the safari tent. Jamie spent a wonderfully relaxed afternoon with the prince of cats as he dozed peacefully in some dense shade. Yet as the sun began to sink he yawned stretched and began to make his way directly towards the crew stationed on quarantine clearings. He eventually positioned himself perfectly with a clear view of all the commotion, before slowly slinking away into a dense block.

sindile 19 june 2016 pm.jpg
(Sindile, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Monday the 20th of June

A rather relaxed Monday ensued after all the TV pandemonium. The afternoon was quiet but truly beautiful as the dry season dust filled the air giving everything an orange glow. Once the sun had set the daylight warmth continued into the balmy evening, minutes before the closing of the sunset safari WE were treated to a spectacular sighting. An african wild cat out and about and on the hunt. The slender feline payed the vehicle no attention as it picked it’s way through the shadows, ears pricked for any sound indicating a possible meal. WE stayed with the wild cat until it eventually melted into the darkness of the night time bush.

african wild cat 20 june 2016.jpg
(African wild cat, Screenshot Credit: Alena Allens‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Tuesday the 21st June

The dawn broke crisp and fresh, another cool morning as a constant reminder of winter’s presence. James wasted no time in heading straight into the area where it was reported Karula had left her cubs. Sure enough after scanning the area, he noticed two bright blue eyes watching cautiously from the upper boughs of a tall tree. Karula’s male cub made no move and simply kept a close eye as WE watched. A short while later Karula’s little lady is found sunning herself on top of a nearby termite mound, both cubs in clear view from the others chosen hiding spot. As for the queen, there was no trace, her location and actions only thought of in speculatory terms.

karula's male cub 21 june 2016 am.jpg
(Karula’s male cub, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

An unusually warm day was upon the safariLIVE crew yet again. To the west Mvula had been found feasting on a warthog lifted high in an overhang of Arathusa’s main drainage line. The aging male leopard reclined as gracefully as only these big cats can. He spent most of the morning dozing in a natural hammock created by the twists and turns of his chosen tree. Later on that afternoon he had picked a new spot on top of a nearby shady termite mound. He lay in feline regality, his earlier hunting spoils half eaten and still stashed nearby.

mvula 21 june 2016 am.jpg
(Mvula, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Arathusa)‎

As the heat of the day began to diminish some more big cat action began to unfold. Having left the somewhat sleepy Mvula Brent made his way back to Djuma. Upon arrival at quarantine clearings it became clear that there were three very lion shaped mounds huddled against the icy evening wind. Once the darkness had settled the Nkuhuma pride began to show a few more signs of life as they yawned and stretched their taught tawny bodies out. The lionesses certain hunger confirmed by the lack of round hanging bellies. Once the sunset safari had finished a few members of the crew took an opportunity to go and have a look at the lovely ladies and within minutes they were stalking. Suddenly great black masses in the form of buffalo burst through the bush as the lionesses gave chase. Thunderous hooves created columns of dust and once the dust had settled the lions were left separated and still hungry. It was decided to leave the Nkuhuma’s to their nightly adventures with the hopes of finding them in the morning slightly better fed.

nkuhuma lioness 21 june 2016 pm.jpg
(Nkuhuma lioness, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Wednesday the 22nd of June

Winter has struck back with a vengeance. The greyness of the cloudy morning only reaffirmed by a bitter wind. Brent decided to check to the east to see what trouble he could get himself into. After arriving on Cheetah Plains the long cold drive payed off. One of Karula’s now independent sons is attempting to sun himself in the protection of a large termite mound. He lazed for a while before deciding he’d have more luck elsewhere. Moments later he descended the termite mound, walking by the vehicle as if it wasn’t there. WE followed as he sauntered down an open road. The young male leopard then came upon a patch of dust that obviously smelt particularly delicious, after rolling in the sand for a short while he stood, shook himself off and continued on his way. This extreme expenditure of energy had clearly taken its toll as Quarantine then made his way to the top of yet another termite mound before collapsing in a heap of spots. Brent stayed with the gorgeous male until the last moments of the sunrise safari.

Quarantine male 22 June 2016 am.jpg
(Quarantine male, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin‎, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)

Friday the 24th of June

Another day with a spot or two of leopard luck! Freelance safariLIVE presenter Byron spent the morning in the company of a seriously flat Mvula. The former dominant male seemed to have huddled himself in a very comfy nest consisting entirely of elephant dung. A dung pillow for his spotted head and tatty ears as well as a dung down bedding for his tired body. He barely moved except for the odd ear and tail flick aimed at irritating buzzing of the flies. There he remained for the majority of the morning before eventually sneaking off to the west.

Mvula 24 June 2016 am.jpg
(Mvula, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)‎

Not far to the south from where Mvula was lying, WE found young Sindile. He was back in his oldest and most favourite haunts. The young male was found sitting pretty on the peak of a termite mound surveying the surrounding bush. It seems life as a dispersal male is doing him well, his belly is full and he gets bigger with each passing day. Yet his face is no longer as flawless as it once was. He has now picked up a few new and rather distinctive scratches to his muzzle, no doubt fighting with his mother and various other males in the area. The prince of cats slowly made his way down the termite mound and directly into a nasty thicket comprising of the vicious black monkey thorn. James was forced to let Sindile get on with his morning away from the limelight. After searching for him during the sunset safari James eventually threw in the towel and stopped to have a look at some beautiful little birds. Unknown to him Sindile had been quietly slinking up behind them the entire time. James turned and saw the graceful cat slip off the road and through the undergrowth. WE then had a brief but spectacular sighting before he made his way off of our traverse.

sindile 24 june 2016 am.jpg
(Sindile, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

The morning was not all about seeing spots however. While driving the reserve James managed to find a young and unknown male lion. The youngster was a clear fit of starvation as he relentlessly chased an adult giraffe over the uneven ground. His attempt did not result in success and as soon as he had appeared, he disappeared. The identity of the young male seemed to stump both the crew and the viewers, after much debate it was proposed that this youngster could be Junior Nkuhuma’s new coalition partner. But without confirmation his identity will have to remain a mystery for the time being.

unknown male lion 24 june am.jpg
(Unknown male lion, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

More lions later in the afternoon as Byron managed to catch up with one of the Nkuhuma ladies. The lioness lounged in the dimming sunlight yawning and stretching at her leisure. She eventually overcame her constant state of inertia and padded her way off into the darkness no doubt en route back to her pride mates.

nkuhuma lioness 24 june 2016.jpg
(Nkuhuma lioness, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)‎

Monday, 27 June 2016

#safariLIVE Viewer Profile: Angela Smith


Angela's interest in African wildlife started when she was given the opportunity to visit Kenya years ago. She saw the Samburu, the Mara and Kilimanjaro in her time there. Then in 2010 she was introduced to Pete's Pond by a friend and says, "From the first time, I was hooked."

"I have always loved Africa and its animals. I visited Kenya around 1990 and went on a safari with a friend who was working in Nairobi as a humanitarian aid worker." She then joined us on the back of the biggest safari vehicle in the world three years ago, and has become a member of the ever growing, global community of viewers..

She says the cat sightings are her favourite. "I have always been a cat person, especially rescue cats and I have always had a cat that I am looking after. I love the sightings of the lions and hearing them roar! Also the leopards and their cubs, so playful. I was intrigued by the sightings of the African wild cat. And of course, the elephants!"

Djuma Game Reserve and Pete's Pond on Mashatu, in neighboring Botswana, are the two places she would love to visit most, since seeing them through the lenses of our cameras. "It is amazing that we can watch real time and have an experience as if we are actually on the back of the [vehicle]. The presenters include the viewers in their dialogue and consideration, 'Watch out for the low branches, everyone!', and we need to be aware that we may be seeing a dwindling population of these wonderful animals. I hope that this current younger generation is not the last to see elephants, wild dogs and rhinos."

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!

Monday, 13 June 2016

#safariLIVE Viewer Profile: Adrian Williams


Adrian Williams has been a viewer for  the last three years, and found safariLIVE in a rather unusual way. "I am a FGASA Level 1 student.  Not because I want to be a professional guide but because it gives structure to my learning about the bushveld.  I did a internet search looking for information about Leadwood (Combretum imberbe) and found #safariLIVE.  It is a great learning resource and I've been hooked on it ever since."

Baby warthog. Photo by Adrian Williams

He loves what we do because of the window into life in the wild WE provides. "The fact they show the natural world live.  Not packaged or prepared but just how it is.  I remember when there was no colour TV so to be able to see a wild animal interaction live in colour from SA or elsewhere in the world at any time of day or night still amazes me," he says.

Male lion. Photo by Adrian Williams

Due to his career, he understands some of the challenges WildEarth faces. "Working in IT I know that technical systems and processes only work when everything is configured and connected correctly and with all gremlins squashed. I have great admiration for the WE technical team."

His favourite sightings are "the ones where the presenter says 'I don't know what that is'. "These sightings provide the greatest learning opportunity and I'm heading off to my library of books, articles, DVD's to try and find out what it is too." 

White-browed robin-chat. Photo by Adrian Williams

Adrian would love to visit Pete's Pond on Mashatu, in Botswana but has been to South Africa. "I'd love to visit other countries in Southern Africa but not managed it yet, there is so much to see in SA!"

Leopard orchid. Photo by Adrian Williams

He feels that safariLIVE is not only entertaining and educational, but also theraputic. "The importance of the natural world cannot be overstated.  It is by learning and sharing our interest and love for it we help protect it. There are many pioneering heroes who have brought the natural world to people's attention and into their homes - Jane Goodall, Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Hugo van Lawick, David Attenborough and many, many more. Graham and Emily and the whole WE team are current pioneers carrying on that tradition. Tune in and you might see a leopard stalking prey, a colourful flower or a herd of elephants having fun. After a busy day in the office that is just the best tonic"

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!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

safariLIVE Drive rehearsals and schedules [Updated]


Exciting news for exciting times. In just a few short days safariLIVE is going LIVE across the TV screens of the United States! Proudly brought to you by Nat Geo Wild, we will be celebrating all the Dads out there. That’s right, WE are doing two, 2-hour sunset safaris for the fantastic fathers on 18 & 19 June 2016.

Don’t panic WE will of course also stream these shows on the Internet as usual!

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(Wild Dog with Jamie [left] and Bryan [right], Photo Credit: Brent Leo-Smith, Djuma)

As our amazing and loyal viewers will know, WE always strive to deliver the best interactive safari experience possible and so need to rehearse.  That’s why there will be a few alterations to the upcoming internet safari times for the coming week 13 - 17 June.

BLSPhoto (13 of 26).jpg
(Nkuhuma pride with the Matimba males, Photo Credit: Brent Leo-Smith, Djuma)

Our sunrise drive on 13 June will only be one hour in duration but our sunset safari will continue as scheduled.

Our sunrise drive on 14 June there will only be private rehearsals, no public broadcast.
The sunrise drives on 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 June will be as normal

On 15, 16 & 17 June WE are cancelling our sunset safari broadcasts for further rehearsals.

WE have also given our crew a much needed and well deserved morning off  on 20 June.

WE apologize for these breaks in broadcast and hope that you understand.

Please find the safariLIVE drive schedule for next week below:



Date
CAT
EDT ( -6)
PDT (-9)
Date
13 June
Sunrise Drive: 06:30 - 07:30
Sunrise Drive: 00:30 - 01:30
Sunrise Drive: 21:30 - 22:30
12 June
Sunset Drive: 15:00 - 18:00
Sunset Drive: 09:00 - 12:00
Sunset Drive: 06:00 - 09:00
13 June
14 June
Sunrise Drive: Private TV Rehearsal
Sunrise Drive: Private TV Rehearsal
Sunrise Drive: Private TV Rehearsal
Sunset Drive: 15:00 - 18:00
Sunset Drive: 09:00 - 12:00
Sunset Drive: 06:00 - 09:00
14 June
15 June
Sunrise Drive: 06:30 - 09:30
Sunrise Drive: 00:30 - 03:30
Sunrise Drive: 21:30 - 00:30
Sunset Drive: Private TV Rehearsal
Sunset Drive: Private TV Rehearsal
Sunset Drive: Private TV Rehearsal
15 June
16 June
Sunrise Drive: 06:30 - 09:30
Sunrise Drive: 00:30 - 03:30
Sunrise Drive: 21:30 - 00:30
Sunset Drive: Private TV Rehearsal
Sunset Drive: Private TV Rehearsal
Sunset Drive: Private TV Rehearsal
16 June
17 June
Sunrise Drive: 06:30 - 09:30
Sunrise Drive: 00:30 - 03:30
Sunrise Drive: 21:30 - 00:30
Sunset Drive: Private TV Rehearsal
Sunset Drive: Private TV Rehearsal
Sunset Drive: Private TV Rehearsal
17 June
18 June
Sunrise Drive: 06:30 - 09:30
Sunrise Drive: 00:30 - 03:30
Sunrise Drive: 21:30 - 00:30
Sunset Drive: 15:00 - 17:00 (TV episode)
Sunset Drive: 09:00 - 11:00 (TV episode)
Sunset Drive: 06:00 - 08:00 (TV episode)
18 June
19 June
Sunrise Drive: 06:30 - 09:30
Sunrise Drive: 00:30 - 03:30
Sunrise Drive: 21:30 - 00:30
Sunset Drive: 15:00 - 17:00 (TV episode)
Sunset Drive: 09:00 - 11:00 (TV episode)
Sunset Drive: 06:00 - 08:00 (TV episode)
19 June
20 June
Sunrise Drive: Cancelled
Sunrise Drive: Cancelled
Sunrise Drive: Cancelled
Sunset Drive: 15:00 - 18:00
Sunset Drive: 09:00 - 12:00
Sunset Drive: 06:00 - 09:00
20 June

WE are exploding with excitement and anticipation for the upcoming Father’s Day safariLIVE specials, can’t wait to have you all participating in the world’s biggest safari!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Thursday 9th June: Sunrise safari to move earlier





WED.jpegOn Sunday 5th June it was World Environment Day. http://wed2016.com/
World Environment Day (WED) is the United Nations’ most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries.


This year’s theme for WED is “Go Wild for Life” and it is encouraging all people to celebrate those species under threat. Unfortunately the illegal trade in wildlife products is booming which is causing a lot of a damage to our animals, environment, communities and security.


taronga.pngWildEarth has partnered with the Taronga Zoo’s in Australia to broadcast into their yearly World Environment Day conference which will be happening on Thursday 9th June.

Taronga cares for 4,000 animals from over 350 species, many of which are threatened. Hayden Turner who has presented for safariLIVE in the past now works for Taronga and has helped forge a partnership between us.

The Zoo has recognised that for people to change their cultural and spiritual view’s about wildlife and the environment they need to be familiar and fall in love with the wild. As most of you know helping people to connect with nature so that they can “love it” and help conserve it, is exactly what WildEarth and safariLIVE is all about.

On Thursday 9th June we will be starting our sunrise safari two hours earlier than normal. The start time will be 4.30amCAT, 10.30pm EST and 2.30am GMT.
taronga1.jpeg 
The first half an hour will be dedicated to the Taronga Zoo where we will
answer questions from various environmentalists and conservationists who will be at the conference. After this we will run the safari as normal and the finish times will be 7.30amCAT, 1.30am EST and 5.30am GMT.

It will of course be very dark at this time and so the format will be slightly different to normal. We will have a fire to keep James warm as he chats to Hayden and the team and Brent and Jamie will be out in the bush with spotlights looking for the elusive nocturnal creatures.