Thursday, 30 July 2009

NEW LIVE webcam from a Pennslyvanian Forest


WE have gone LIVE with another amazing camera and this time it is mammals rather than birds. The Pixcontroller Wildlife Webcam is truly a unique system which is set up in Southwestern Pennsylvania which is host to and array of wildlife species. This camera has seen Gray Squirrels, Chipmunks, Red Fox, Cross Fox, Gray Fox, Coyotes, Turkey Vultures, Raccoons, Red-Tailed Hawks, White Tailed Deer and White Turkey. I think it is going to be one of our most prolific cameras ever from a point of view of animal variety.


The PixController WebCam consists of several video camera feeds. There is a main camera which is wired to our base unit and broadcasts a video signal 24/7. There are also several motion-activated wireless video cameras connected to the unique wildlife webcam. When something is in front of these camera systems they will turn on and send a video signal back to the base station. The base station will look for any incoming video transmissions and when it senses one it will turn off the main camera and switch the video feed over to the incoming video transmission. Once the animal leaves the site of the remote motion-activated camera the video signal will be switched back to the main camera.


This remote system means that you will always see the best that there is at anyone time. WE hope you enjoy this new camera, WE certainly love it.


Keep watching, tomorrow we are due to launch ANOTHER camera in Africa. I don't want to reveal what it is yet but I can say that there are lots of these animals all in one place with some babies!! Enjoy.

Friday, 24 July 2009

there is a bit of a problem ... you may have noticed. :)

For the past little while you may have noticed some strange goings on with our stream out of Africa. Random freezing and very weird fast forwarding suddenly, and we have noticed that our stream has sometimes gotten as much as a minute or two behind LIVE. For days WE have been trying to track this problem (thank you all for your tracerts to webmaster@wildearth.tv). WE have established that the problem is not at any of the servers, encoder or viewer links. In fact WE (or rather Pete) isolated it as the link between South Africa and the United Kingdom. Then after WE discussed this problem with Telkom it emerged that there has been some kind of partial failure on the undersea cable between SA and the UK (SAT3) and everyone is scrambling around trying to figure out what is going on.
Tomorrow morning WE are going to see if our line can be rerouted and if not alternative plans are being made to make sure that the Fire Side Chat tomorrow night with William Fox from the Ingwe Leopard Project and ResearchCam at 18h15 CAT is 100% OK. 
However, the AM:safari (game drive) tomorrow the 24th July, in just over 6 hours, has been cancelled because WE know that the stream will be poor.
Sorry about this, but what can WE say ... c'est la vie ... its in our nature. :)
Also, please stay tuned to this Blog, there are several BIG announcements coming very soon ... including a new channel on WE from Pennsylvania, and a slew of improvements at Djuma. Plus there are some really exciting new shows in the pipeline ... WE are about to grow again ...

Sunday, 12 July 2009

WE news ...

There has been quite a lot taking place behind the scenes at WE. Some of which you will be seeing shortly and some of which WE just can't share yet, but it is all very exciting. ;-)
Firstly, WE have been selected one of the finalists in the web2.0 category for the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. This is a great honor to just be a finalist. What is so interesting about this is that it is really an award for our community more than anything else. You see the WE ecosystem, from a social media perspective, is what WE are being recognized for, and that is really all of you, the WEfamily. So a BIG congratulations to you all for being finalists.
Secondly, a great article was written about WE, and our leading social ecosystem, by the Georgetown University, Global Comm Class Blog, based on an article by Stacy Lukasavitz (also known as: That Damn Redhead). WE are getting more and more attention and respect for our social ecosystem and the relationship that WildEarth.TV has with you. This ecosystem is 100% about ALL those involved, and so again this article is about WE and not just WildEarth. :)
As you are all no doubt aware, the team at WEdjuma have been having a real nightmare with power on the Jigga. The inverter has been acting up and eventually failed. So Pete (before he went on leave) and Pieter installed a UPS and this has worked quite well since, although there is a 'beep' that you can sometimes hear every 8 seconds or so. Then the batteries have really started to give us problems. So much so that the crew ended up with 11 batteries on the Jigga (thats about 700 pounds of batteries). This whole battery problem is caused by a relatively difficult issue to resolve, and that is the fact that WE destroy our batteries because we over discharge them and, we don't charge them enough before we use them again, which reduces their capacity fast. This is a known problem which is hard to fix because our schedule is what it is and the gaps of time between drives are too short. However, WE bought a new set of batteries, and a new Inverter, although the wrong one was sent, and we are trying to figure out a way to redesign our battery charging process so that this rapid degeneration of the batteries can be reduced or removed. In the mean time WE are not doing the third drive at night, as this really reduces the charging time and is one of the main causes of the now very quick reduction in battery capacity. WE cannot tell you how long this will stay like this, but can say that WE are working on getting it properly sorted out.
On Friday this week there are going to be a bunch of crew changes. Marc and Pete get back from leave. Marc has his girlfriend, Paula, with him and you might get to meet her. She is visiting him from the US for a couple of weeks. Pieter and Lieschen are heading off for their leave on Friday as well. But before that Pieter and Herman are going over to Leopard Hills from Monday morning to Tuesday night, where they will be filming some new animal characters (more on that later). Leopard Hills is owned and managed by Seasons in Africa who now also manage Vuyatela, Galago and Bush Lodge over at Djuma. As a result WE are building a closer relationship with Leopard Hills (also in the Sabi Sands Reserve, about 20 miles to the south west). To begin with WE are going to introduce you to a few of their well known animal characters, and then on Friday night Duncan Rodgers (the Leopard Hills manager) is coming over to Djuma for a special LIVE Fire Side Chat. (WE will let you all know the details of this closer the time.) Also, in time WE hope to start doing the odd LIVE safari over at Leopard Hills as well as watching a couple of their waterholes LIVE, but there is no schedule for this yet.
Some of you will have noticed the veritable army of big cat fan pages that are being created on Facebook, and I thought you should know a little about our plans for this. Quite a number of people, including guides, rangers, trackers, as well as people like Karen, Colleen and Valorie are working on expanding our social ecosystem to include the big cats of the Sabi Sands. The idea is to collect as much information about the various lion prides and leopards as possible and then make this info available so anyone can 'exploit' it from within a social media ecosystem. So nobody will own it, but we will all contribute to it and use it as a way to know what is happening with the various animals we have seen or heard about.
In the end there will be three aspects to this ecosystem: (1) Facebook fan pages, where you will be able to 'follow' the lives of the animals through your newsfeeds, as well as share pictures and videos, and also read up the history of the animals, (2) a wiki, where all the sort of technical info will be collected, like family history, age, cubs, territory, etc. and (3) Twitter accounts where people (WE viewers, guests and rangers/guides) will update breaking status news in the 1st person. The facts from the wiki will be 'copied' to the fan pages, as will the Tweets be 'copied' into the fan page status updates on Facebook. Eventually all this information will appear within a Google Earth layer so you can see the when and where of it all if you wish. To begin with we are all working on the Facebook part, as this is kinda the nexus of the structure. Obviously this is a massive and challenging project, but it could well provide an immensely valuable research tool as well as being a great way to learn about the animals you are watching (both via the web and if you travel to the Sabi Sands) and stay in touch with their daily lives even if you cannot afford the time to 'sit' on WE for every safari.
Pieter and Herman will be videoing a series of interviews with the various rangers at Leopard Hills about all the big cats that frequent their traversing area and these interviews will be loaded up on fan pages of the animals in question. They will also try and 'meet' as many of the big cats on this first (of many) trips and film and photograph those cats that they do manage to find and these will also be added to the fan pages.
There will be a great deal more info on this project over the coming months and years, as well as an opportunity for you all to get involved. To begin with we are looking for volunteers to become admins on one or two fan pages, of animals that you might see at Djuma, and then when you do see them you update their status messages to let their fans know what's happening in their lives. There is no way to volunteer for this yet, but during this coming week WE will be putting this infrastructure in place, and will be calling for help. So keep your ears to the ground and get involved with the next big wildlife social ecosystem ... its in your nature.
Written by Graham Wallington

Monday, 6 July 2009

Operation Migration is LIVE on WE!!




The team at Operation Migration have been working long nights and especially hard to get this cam LIVE to all of you and they have finally done. Go to the WE site at www.wildearth.tv and flip through the coverflow until you find the new stream. To begin with you will be watching one of the pens where the recently arrived cohorts of young Whooping Cranes are being kept at Nacedah Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin. There flight training and socialization are underway and in the fall, if all goes well, they will begin their epic journey south. 
This year Operation Migration, with WE, plans to keep you updated through the whole journey. Parts of the migration will be LIVE, but there will be regular updates from the route by some of the key people involved in this phenomenal and inspiring conservation effort.
Enjoy this new facet to WE. Don't forget to visit the OM website and YouTube channels as well as join their Facebook group.
A big warm WElcome to Operation Migration from the whole WEfamily. :)






The official Operation Migration website:
http://www.operationmigration.org/


The official Operation Migration Facebook group:
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=22675991063&ref=ts


The official Operation Migration YouTube Channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/OperationMigration

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Eyrefield/Sparta Pride of Lions

Ever wonder about the pride of lions the famed Mapogo Coalition came from? It was the Eyrefield/Sparta Pride. You may remember reading about them in the last blog on the Roller Coaster/Rollercoaster Males.

Information/background on The Eyrefield/Sparta Pride has been gathered from various sites (Mala Mala, Londolozi, Djuma, Savanna, Nkorho, Elephant Plains, Singita, Exeter, Arathusa, Ulusaba, Inyati, Wildwatch, Idube, Leopard Hills, Simbambili) and their sightings databases along with helpful Rangers and staff at the various lodges and reserves answering questions sent their way.


Eyrefield/Sparta Pride

Territory includes Mala Mala, Londolozi and surrounding areas.

The Eyrefield/Sparta Pride in 1997/98 consisted of seven to eight lionesses that were taken over by five males known as the West Street/Sparta Males. They took over the pride after killing the Tsalala Pan resident males (may also be known as the Manyeleti Males). Londolozi reported that most of the litters born to the Eyrefield/Sparta pride the first 3 years did not survive.

By 2000, the pride consisted of 7 adult lionesses, two approximately 16 month old cubs (1 male, 1 female) and the five aging West Street Males. Of these two cubs, the male was lost sometime during May/June 2000 and the female survives to this day. During this same time, May/June 2000, another sub adult male lion approximately the same age as the missing young male, joined the Eyrefield Pride. Though he was not readily accepted by either the lionesses nor the dominant males, he was tolerated. Today, that same youngster is the dominant male of the infamous Mapogo Coalition.

Between 2000 and 2002, approximately 20 cubs were born with only eight that survived. Of these eight, 5 were males who eventually matured and joined the older unrelated Male to form the 6 male coalition known as Eyrefield/Sparta Males or the Mapogos. One of the female cubs is part of the current Eyrefield pride. Some of these surviving cubs were believed to be sired by the Roller Coaster (Rollercoaster)/Shaw Males. It was reported by Mala Mala that the Roller Coaster Males may have sired five cubs that were born in the latter part of 2001 when they lured some of the Eyrefield lionesses away from the aging West Street males. These cubs would include the two youngest of the Mapogo Coalition.

In 2003, two of the four Marthly/Split Rock/Robson males began their move to take over the Eyrefield/Sparta Pride. Some reports indicate that during these take over attempts, the Split Rocks allowed the two surviving old West Street males to remain while others tend to dispute that. The last West Street Male died in 2004 at approximately 14 yrs to 16 plus years of age.

Over the next couple of years, the pride was in turmoil with threats of take over by the Split Rock males. Some lionesses were seen mating with them while others separated from the pride to avoid them.

By 2006, the Split Rock males still had not fully taken control over the Eyrefield Pride and the 6 Eyrefield/Sparta aka Mapogo Males began to venture away from the pride. During this same time period, two of the Roller Coaster Males began their attempt to take over the pride and one young Eyrefield lioness along with her two cubs went missing. Possibly killed by the Roller Coaster Males. One of the old lionesses died from natural causes/old age. Thus by the end of 2006, the pride now consisted of four adult lionesses and the two Roller Coaster Males. The first cubs sired by the Roller Coaster Males did not survive.

Another one of the younger adult lionesses disappeared around April/May 2007 leaving an old lioness of 13 yrs. 1 mo, an adult lioness 8 yrs 7 mos, the surviving sibling (female) to the missing lioness age 5 yrs 8 mos. Between the months of May through July 2007, 10 cubs were born with nine surviving. In June 2007, one of the Roller Coaster Males sadly was killed by a crocodile.

October 2007, one of the nine cubs went missing from the pride for 8 days. The Eyrefields had ventured into a scheduled burn area. The pride escaped the fire but were missing one cub. The young cub was viewed for six days on it’s own and it was another two days before the pride finally located it. The cub quickly flourished once back within the safety of the pride.

December 2007, the nine surviving cubs now range in age from 5 months (4 cubs), 7 months (1 cub) and 7 months 2 weeks (4 cubs).

The pride remained relatively stable for all of 2008. The old Roller Coaster Male splitting his time between them and the Styx Pride. Their nine cubs grew bigger and stronger with each passing month. The cubs consisted of 5 males and 4 females ranging in age between 17 months and 19 months 2 weeks by December 2008.

January 2009, this pride was joined by the young (approximately 3 ½ yrs old) Tsalala/Marthly male known as “Solo”. It took several months, but eventually he was accepted into the pride by both the lionesses, the nine cubs and even the old Roller Coaster Male.

A dramatic turn of events disrupted their fairly peaceful existence. The Mapogo/Eyrefield Males began moving back into the area of which they were born and the pride they originated from now became their target.

April 2009, the old Roller Coaster Male was ousted as the dominant male of both the Eyrefield Pride and the Styx Pride. The prides fled with their cubs in an effort to keep them safe. Apparently the old Roller Coaster Male reunited with the Eyrefield Pride and fled with them into Londolozi and surrounding areas.

April 8th 2009, reports were coming in to Mala Mala that a fight was ensuing West of Mala Mala. Two lionesses with six of the cubs fled to safety but the rest of the pride including the young Tsalala Male were under attack by the Mapogos/Eyrefield Males. After this fight, one sub adult cub was missing and presumed dead. Eventually, the rest of the pride was reunited once more.

April 28th 2009 - Another run in with the Mapogo/Eyrefield Males. Viewed in the AM at Mala Mala were the three lionesses, five sub adult cubs and the old Roller Coaster male. One sub adult male was reported killed in the previous nights attack. Missing was the young Tsalala Male and two of the sub adult cubs.

The next day (29th) The young Tsalala Male along with the two missing Eyrefield sub adult cubs were located further South and still separated from the rest of their pride.

May 2nd found the two Eyrefield sub adult cubs all alone in approximately the same area as before but the young Tsalala Male was no longer with them.

May 7th, The young Tsalala Male, the Roller Coaster Male and six sub adult cubs were seen but missing this time were the three lionesses and one female sub adult cub.

Thankfully, the next day they reportedly had all reunited.

Andrew at Mala Mala shared that after May 10th the pride moved into Londolozi. At that time the pride consisted of the three adult lionesses, seven sub adult cubs (3 males and 4 females), the young Tsalala Male, and the old Roller Coaster Male.

June 3rd & 4th 2009, The pride was seen in Mala Mala on an adult male giraffe kill. Apparently, this large of a kill was possible due to the pride having the Tsalala male (approx 4 yrs old now) and the Roller Coaster male in attendance.

June 10th 2009 - The pride was again viewed in Mala Mala and the Rangers reported all were accounted for with the exception of the old Roller Coaster Male.

June 12th - 26th sightings by Ulusaba - Though no specific date was given, the entire Eyrefield Pride was said to be in Ulusaba. Smack in the middle of Mapogo and the Ximungwe Pride's territory. Ulusaba listed the count for the pride as 12 which included one Male lion. Assuming the count was correct, the Roller Coast male and the young Tsalala male should both have been in attendance. The pride was hunting Kudu but without success. At least six of the youngsters decided to take on a Honey Badger but the Honey Badger held it's ground and after emitting a foul odor managed to escape.

June 24th 2009 - The entire Eyrefield Pride, with the exception of the Roller Coaster male, were found near Lion Loop in Mala Mala resting up. As dusk approached they got active. Heading towards the Sand River they came across a Buffalo Herd that was just leaving the river area. The lions took the opportunity to follow the herd across the Sand River. They closed the gap on some stragglers but soon were noticed by the herd's rear guard bulls. Three large bulls turned to face off with the lions. For quite some time the pride played cat and mouse with the bulls and began to slowly wear them down. Luckily, the bulls caught on to the lions strategy and returned to the safety of the herd. With the herd now tightly grouped the lions could not penetrate them. Finally they charged the herd sending them stampeding in the hopes of some stragglers they could take down but this did not play out for them. The pride finally gave up and rested.

The next day, 25th, the pride was again located and were looking lean. By mid day they moved out of the Mala Mala viewing area.

Videos of this pride from YouTube:

2006

By mattwood22 Warning Graphic Buffalo Kill



2008

By GoneonSafari



2009

By Katastrophikus



By tricky0771







By ccrummey



Please remember, this information is not set in stone as it is an evolving story and there are conflicting accounts.

Lion - Wikipedia

FaceBook Fan Page

More Histories on Lion Prides and Coalitions in Sabi Sands can be found on the Wildearth Ning Site.

By Aquila & Karen In VA

Updated June 2009

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Roller Coaster/Rollercoaster Male Lions

After the previous blog about the Styx Pride of Lions, we thought you may enjoy reading more about the Roller Coaster coalition and the last surviving male that until recently dominated the Styx Pride.

Information/background has been gathered from various sites (Mala Mala, Londolozi, Djuma, Savanna, Nkorho, Elephant Plains, Singita, Exeter, Arathusa, Ulusaba, Inyati, Wildwatch, Idube, Leopard Hills, Simbambili) and their sightings databases along with helpful Rangers and staff at the various lodges and reserves answering questions sent their way.

Roller Coaster/Rollercoaster Males, AKA Shaw Males, AKA Castleton Males Originally a Coalition of Six

These six males were born into the Castleton/Ximungwe pride in 1996. The same pride that also gave us the Tsalala Pride and the Ximuvanyane Pride.

They were sired by the 5 Sparta/West Street males (the same coalition that sired the Mapogo Males).

It is unclear how the Coalition of 6 was whittled down to just two by early 2006 but various reports suggests Bovine Tuberculosis and death by other lions was most likely the cause. By 2001 there were 5 surviving. 2002, four were surviving as one was believed to have been killed by another lion. One more disappeared and was believed dead by Aug 2002 leaving three. Of these three, one could easily be identified as he was missing an eye. The three became the dominant males of the Selati/Shaw Pride which by (2004) had 12 cubs sired by them. It was reported by Mala Mala in February 2006, that the one male missing an eye was confirmed to have died. He had been in poor condition for some time.

The two remaining Roller Coaster males had taken over the Eyrefield/Sparta pride by Aug 2006. This being the pride the Mapogo Coalition originated from. This pride today consists of three lionesses. Two are sisters of the Mapogo Males and the one old lioness may very well be the Mother to some of the Mapogos. The Eyrefield Pride currently has nine cubs approximately 18 to 20 mos old (5 males, 4 females) sired by the two Roller Coaster males and just recently accepted into their pride the Sub Adult male, Solo, from the Tsalala Pride of which the Roller Coaster male seems to accept.

The two brothers sought to oust the surviving old Split Rock male from his dominance over the Styx Pride. Which they finally succeeded in doing in 2007. It is suspected the Roller Coaster males contributed to the loss of all the Styx pride’s cubs in the later part of 2006.

Sadly, in June 2007 one of the Roller Coaster brothers was killed by a crocodile. Only one survives today. The lone survivor still has control for now over the Eyrefield/Sparta pride and their 9 cubs. He must also have some dominance over the Styx Pride, if any one lion can dominate the Styx Pride, as several of the Styx lionesses reportedly gave birth in 2008 with at least 9 cubs still surviving. The Styx cubs are believed to be sired by the old Roller Coaster male. He has been seen spending most of his time with the pride and interacting with the cubs. Though there is speculation that some of the Styx cubs may have been sired by the Mapogos, the old Roller Coaster Male accepts them all as his cubs.

Update received Mar 2009 from Andrew at Mala Mala: The two oldest Styx Pride cubs were sired by the old Roller Coaster Male, seven were sired by either the Roller Coaster Male or the Mapogos or a combination of both, the newest cubs recently born are sired by the Mapogos.

Upadte May 22nd 2009 The last two months have been erratic for the Roller Coaster male. It was reported he had been ousted as the dominant male of the Eyrefield Pride and the Styx Pride by two Mapogos (Kinky Tail and Mr T) that seem to be on a mission in Mala Mala to take control over these prides. The majority of the Styx Pride, with cubs in tow, have fled the area as well as the Eyrefield Pride. Eventually, the old Roller Coaster rejoined the Eyrefield Pride but they have suffered several attacks by the two Mapogos. These attacks have resulted in the deaths of two of the sub adult cubs and members being separated. As of this date, the 3 adult lionesses, 7 sub adult cubs, the old Roller Coaster male along with the young Tsalala male, Solo who has been accepted into this pride, have reunited and escaped into the Londolozi area. Only time will tell what the outcome of this conflict may be.

June 10th 2009 - Where are you "old" man? You were mysteriously missing from the Eyrefield Pride when viewed in Mala Mala.

June 26th 2009 - The old fella reappeared near the West Street area of Mala Mala. He was on his own but looking well. The next morning, he had disappeared once again.

Note of interest:

1. Lionesses from the Charleston pride (Mala Mala) are thought to be sisters or cousins of the Roller Coaster males due to interactions between the pride and the coalition when they were seen together in 2002/2003.

2. It is believed the Roller Coaster Coalition may have fathered the 2 younger Mapogo Males. When the Roller Coasters were a young coalition and still consisted of 5 surviving males, 4 ventured into West Street Males' territory and were reported to have been seen mating with the some of the lionesses of Eyrefield/Sparta pride that the aging West Street males still held dominance over.

The lone surviving Roller Coaster male is a beautiful lion and we can only hope he is able to maintain his dominance over the Eyrefield/Sparta pride and the Styx pride long enough for the cubs to reach independence. Update: Seems the old lion has lost his place as dominant male of the Styx Pride and may well be losing it with the Eyrefield Pride as well.

He is a real "character" too. Rangers in the Mala Mala area often joke how he can find a meal no matter where it is. If it is free and easy, he will locate it. :) Along with his dislike of having to exert himself to secure a meal, he also seems to have an aversion to fighting/defending his territory. If their is a conflict involving other males, he is more likely to let the girls in his prides handle the situation while he hangs out with the cubs or heads in the opposite direction. All said and done though.... he is a remarkable "old" man!

Rollercoaster Male Lion roaring


Please remember this is a compilation of information gathered from various sources and nothing is set in stone.

Lion - Wikipedia

FaceBook Fan Page

More Histories on Lion Prides and Coalitions in Sabi Sands can be found on the Wildearth Ning Site.

July 1, 2009

By Aquila & Karen in VA