Monday the 1st of February:
The week is off to a roaring start with the Nkuhuma pride still within their home territory on Djuma and Arathusa. James managed to catch up with the cats on the sunrise drive, they are fat, flat and well fed off yet another buffalo kill made during the night. Buffalo certainly seem to be a particular favourite and specialty of the Nkuhuma Pride. The pride spend the remains of the daylight hours basking in the sun and shade enjoying their kill. Later that afternoon Jamie heads over to see what the lions have been up to. Only one lioness remains on the kill to protect it from would be scavengers like the vultures waiting patiently above or the hyena’s sniffing around the area. This beachball shaped lioness spent the entire afternoon asleep or snacking and by the time the sun sets on the sunset safari she is well established in this pattern.
(Nkuhuma Lioness, Screenshot Credit: MJ Bradley, safariLIVE, Arathusa)
The very same day Scott discovers Karula hiding away in a small dark cave located in the heart of the Milawati drainage line. He remarks at how interesting this is for the Queen as she is usually highly mobile and does not spend huge amounts of time in one place. This leads to the theory that she is possibly pregnant and close to giving birth, hence she is looking for good denning sites. This theory is only strengthened later in the day when Brent returns on the sunset safari only to find her in the exact same place. Eventually she becomes mobile and walks a short distance, she stops for a drink, defecates and then very interestingly covers the feces up. This is a clear indication to Brent that she definitely doesn’t want any other predators to know she is in the area adding yet more speculation to her current condition.
(Karula, Screenshot Credit: MJ Bradley, safariLIVE, Djuma)
To the west, Tingana was discovered with a substantial zebra kill on the Arathusa dam wall. Jamie went through for a brief visit, he wasn’t up to much and spent the afternoon resting in the shade and snacking from time to time on his meal.
(Tingana, Screenshot Credit: Tingana Male Leopard Facebook Page, safariLIVE, Arathusa)
Tuesday the 2nd of February
Celebrations and high spirits are the way of the day as WE along with our safariLIVE viewers welcome Djuma’s newest arrival(s). The Queen has given birth, Brent and Andrew are the dynamic duo who made this wonderful discovery. It seems all the speculation and guesswork was correct, Karula has indeed chosen this cave to give birth and den for the first few weeks of her offspring's life. It is not yet confirmed how many cubs she has given birth to, only time and patience will tell. It is not accepted practice to view newborn leopard cubs and once the expert guides, trackers and rangers feel it is appropriate we will then be able to get to know this new bundle of fluff!
The Nkuhuma Pride was spotted again today on Arathusa. Fat and flat as ever, safariLIVE presenter Scott Dyson pops through to get a quick update on how the cats are doing. They were at the height of laziness during the afternoon heat and it’s not long before Scott lets sleeping lions lie.
(Nkuhuma Lioness, Screenshot credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Arathusa)
Wednesday the 3rd of February 2016
A fantastic treat today from some of our non-feline characters. The Sands wild dog pack have returned to Arathusa and spent the morning coursing through the bush terrorising everything that got in their way. Once on Djuma the pack happily chased elephants and antelope around the Quarantine clearings area while safariLIVE presenter James and camera operator Andrew were on foot in the same area! The dogs eventually make a kill and devoured it in mere minutes before racing out of our traverse.
(Wild Dog - Sand Pack, Screenshot Credit: Linda McCaslin, safariLIVE, Arathusa)
Later that evening Tingana is found by Jamie prowling his territory on Djuma. He’s not the happiest looking leopard this afternoon. His zebra kill was stolen by hyena and to top it off he’s been having stomach complaints all afternoon. The heat of the day is also against him and he is visibly wary whilst patrolling and scent marking. Eventually he goes flat and sleeps in the cooling evening shade until night falls and it’s time to leave.
Thursday the 4th of February 2016
Tingana has been found again on Djuma, also by Jamie on the sun rise drive. He’s clearly feeling better has she finds him on a freshly made warthog kill. He’s already looking rounder when we find him and he spent the morning feeding and relaxing in the shade of a tree. Later in the morning, with the entire kill consumed, he becomes mobile and WE follow him until the close of the sunrise safari.
He’s found again later that afternoon, this time lying up away from the heat of the day in the cooling shade of the bush. Perhaps he was still digesting his breakfast as all he seemed interested in doing was a small amount of grooming and a large amount of sleeping. Once the day has cooled off and the sun is set he decided it was time for a territory tour and made his way through the bush scent marking and patrolling until the end of the sunset safari.
(Tingana, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
That same afternoon the Nkuhuma pride was found by Brent, Jamie and Stef on the safariLIVE tracking team. They called in James who rushed over to see what the lions were up to. As he arrived the lionesses were keenly watching our daring trackers as they made their way back to the tracking vehicle. Then it was back to the afternoon catnaps. It seems only 3 of the lionesses were present that afternoon leaving the whereabouts of the other two a mystery for the time being.
(Nkuhuma Pride, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Friday the 5th of February 2016
The lions have moved, although not by much. They were found in the morning on Arathusa, James heads through to see if they got up to anything interesting during the night. It appears indeed they had, although there was no kill or visible injuries present, one of the lionesses is walking with a pronounced limp. It is indeed a mystery as to what may have caused her injury, at this point only speculations about what may have happened could be put forward. Maybe she’d been injured in a failed hunt or tussle with a pride member? Maybe she simply stood on an irksome thorn and had some difficulty getting it out. Whatever the reason, she was in no danger from it and should make a full recovery soon.
That afternoon Jamie heads through to see what the cats have been up to during the heat of the day. The answer is, absolutely nothing. They are fast asleep when Jamie arrives, the do not even move a hot fluffy ear as the vehicle moves into the sighting and reposition's around them. Jamie eventually leaves the thrilling scene and Brent returns later to see if the cats show any signs of movement. They do not, we then leave them for the evening and hope to find them again tomorrow.
(Nkuhuma Lionesses, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Arathusa)