Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Wild dogs and Mofazi Ingala on baboon kill

On the 25th of February Rex and Alex headed out, searching for the hidden sun under the thick African clouds and for what was hiding around the next corner!
Rexon wanted to go and see what was happening at the local waterhole and headed towards Gowrie main. Just onto Gowrie main- west of Shabam road the hidden sun broke through onto four wonderfully painted wild dogs. One male, a female and two youngsters, filled our WE camera lens and brought smiles to all our faces! Rex seems to think that it could be the same pack WE saw a couple of months ago on Phillimons cutline but we are not sure. We’re trying our best to find pictures of them so that WE can make a positive identification. (WE would appreciate any input from you on this ID. Remember that each dog has unique markings.)
As the excitement grew they headed north into a block where WE could not follow. Knowing this farm like the back of his hand and to a certain extent , having the ability to predict animal behaviour, Rexon had one more trick up his sleeve. He took us straight to the Vuyatela access road hoping that they would pop out there for some more viewing.
On the way there another story was unfolding...Baboons, more to the north, close to Sandy Patch were making a racket, tellling Rex and the other local game drives that there was something brewing in the west. Rex decided to go and investigate and headed straight to where the alarm calls were coming from. Heading west, the memory of the wild dogs was slowly fading, when suddenly, Rex’s hunch paid off and the pack of four reappeared right behind the vehicle and we got another glimpse of them.
Rex had to pull out of the sighting, shifting his attention to some thing else, and turned onto Aubrey's road where he found something rather interesting ... male lion tracks. Could this be why the baboons were making such a racket? It was a little bit far away and the tracks looked like the were a couple of hours old already, so back onto Vuyatella Access. Efraim, another guide, called in that he had just found a lioness who had just killed a young baboon- the very reason why Rex and Alex heard those alarm calls earlier. There was an opening and WE went to go and meet up with this lioness. The last remaining lion from the Sandy Patch Pride was enjoying her very recent kill as we arrived. Now, one could ask why a lion would prey on such a young baboon? There are a couple of theories : one, she could be old and therefore find it difficult to take down a larger prey. However, judging by the condition of this beautifull feline, this was not the case. Or could it be that she was hunting alone? No- lions hunting alone are more than capable of bringing down bigger antelope like impala or kudu- so thats not the reason, either. WE know that all predators are opportunistic feeders and will eat or catch almost anything that comes their way! I said earlier that there were male lion tracks found close to where this female was. She could have sensed the presence of another male lion, and for that exact reason, she tried to stay hidden. While hidden amongst the tall dry grass a young baboon, unaware of the lurking danger, most probably came too close and got taken by this lucky lioness.The tracks of the male lion Rex found earlier on Aubreys road, actually belonged to Dozi, our very popular and famous Kahuma Pride leader. Now what is he doing back here, staring the face of danger straight in the eye, with all the Mapogos almost always around? Rex said that he’s a bit naughty- he could be just checking out if the Mapogos are in the area. Dozi and the rest of the females and cubs mostly hang around far to the north in the Manyaleti. There could be another pride that we don’t know of that’s pushing them back to our area. So Dozi and his pride could be caught between two prides of different lions, and he is making sure that there is no immediate threat or danger in our area.
Written by Jan Harm Robbertse

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jan, once again, thank you for a wonderful write up. You are a natural. The information regarding Dozie was most definitely intriquing and I will be anxious to see how all this unfolds.

Shiloh