Monday, 2 May 2016

The Cat Report 25th April - 1st May


Monday the 25th of April

The mystery leopard is back! Only minutes after the start of the sunrise safari, Sam and Wium found themselves hot on the heels of a male leopard. Soon after finding the tracks, so fresh they were most probably still warm, Sam’s expert eyes caught the flick of a tail. Wium spun his camera around just as the young yet impressive male leopard slunk into view. However he was gone again within seconds. Sam kept his distance and soon the unidentified male had popped back out onto Buffelshoek cutline. WE got some excellent views as the sleek cat made his way through the early morning dust, scent marking as he went. This was a display of territoriality which is a clear message to other male leopards in the area that he is here to stay. Eventually he turned his path northwards and back across the Djuma boundary. There was some speculation as to the individual's identity but information over the game drive radio’s confirm it is Gijima!

Gijima 25 apr am.jpg
(Gijima, Screenshot Credit: Roy Smith, safariLIVE, Djuma)‎

Tuesday the 26th of April

The Queen is back with her two bundles of joy. James rounded a corner in the midst of the sunset safari and found Karula making her way down to Gowrie main with Djuma’s latest arrivals in tow. WE had a spectacular sighting as the slender and graceful cat patrolled the edges of her territory with her two cubs bounding and playing in her royal wake (watch video here).

karula and cubs 26 apr pm.jpg
(Karula and cubs, Screenshot Credit: Hélène van Dijk‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Wednesday the 27th of April

Another action packed start to the sunrise safari, James decided to visit Sydney’s dam early and was enthusiastically greeted by the Investec pack of wild dogs! They bounded at top speed through the bush hot on the tail of a terrified impala. The hunting attempt failed however and almost as soon as the pandemonium struck it had dissipated as the dogs crossed back into Buffelshoek and out of sight.

investec pack 27 apr am.jpg
(Investec Wild dog pack, Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

While James had all the luck with the dogs in the morning, Sam had his own spot of luck that afternoon on Cheetah Plains. While driving the Kruger boundary camera operator Wium caught sight of some slinky spots making their way through the bush. Sam was on it in a second and after a few patient minutes, Inkanyeni, a stunning female leopard crossed into Cheetah plains right in front of the vehicle. The sleek and slender 11 year old leopardess meandered for a short while through the thick bush scent marking as she went. There was no sign of her 5 month old cubs, Sam remained with the dominant female until the sinking darkness stole her from sight.

Inkanyeni 27 apr pm.jpg
(Inkanyeni, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)


Thursday the 28th of April

Shadow returned to the safariLIVE screens this afternoon. Celebration was in order as this is the first time WE have seen her since she gave birth to her very own litter of cubs. Shadow, staying true to her name, has been illusive of late, a good sign as this allowed the leopardess the best chance at raising her cubs in the dangerous African wild. Although her cubs were not present, the dominant female on Arathusa was as graceful as ever. After waking from some beauty rest she headed off on patrol. James stayed with her for as long as possible before she made her way into an impenetrable wall of thick bush.

shadow 28 apr pm.jpg
(Shadow, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Friday the 29th of April

Another spot of luck this morning as James rounded the corner and came upon Shadow yet again. The slender leopardess made her way stealthily through the bush. Although her cubs were not present in this sighting, fresh suck marks on her fluffy white belly indicate she is still suckling her cubs. James stuck close behind her as she patrolled the boundaries of her territory before she disappeared into some thick bush.

shadow 29 apr am.jpg
(Shadow, Screenshot Credit: Debra W. Baudoin‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

As darkness fell across the open plains of quarantine clearings, Tingana made an appearance during the final minutes of the sunset safari. Yet again it was James who found the dominant male leopard slinking his way through the grass. The impressive cat was keeping a close eye out for any hunting opportunity. Unfortunately this moment did not come before the closing of the sunset drive and James left the big male leopard, static as a statue in the darkness.

Tingana 29 apr pm.jpg
(Tingana, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Saturday the 30th of April

Today WE swapped rosettes for spots as safari guide Sam and camera operator Dave made their way across vast open clearings at Cheetah plains. After tracking a female leopard for a short while and excited cry rang out from the back of the vehicle. Dave had caught sight of the dominant coalition of two cheetah brothers in the area. The feline fraternity made their way across the boundary into Malamala where WE watched as they patrolled and scent marked their territory. Eventually they made their way deeper into the neighboring reserve and we lost sight of them.

cheetah 20 apr am.jpg
(Cheetah male, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)

But Sam’s luck didn’t stop there, upon returning to Djuma later in the morning he received word over the radio that a lioness had been spotted near Buffelshoek dam. Sam rushed over and soon discovered the very rotund looking cat flat and comfortable in the deep cooling shade of a drainage line. There is no doubt that this lioness is pregnant and close to giving birth. It is also established that this is the 5th (and until now missing) Nkuhuma lioness. It seemed she was close to birth and could have possibly been looking for a comfortable and safe place to den. When WE returned to the scene later in the day she was nowhere to be found.

nkuhuma lioness 30 apr am.jpg
(Nkuhuma lioness, Screenshot Credit: Kaarina Pietiäinen‎, safariLIVE, Djuma)

Sunday the 1st of May

Sam’s lucky streak continued this morning as he found himself surrounded by the pandemonium that is the Sands pack of WIld dogs. The dogs bounded their way north into Arathusa and after a few minutes of chaotic coursing through the bush the dogs eventually went flat for the morning.

wild dog 1 may am.jpg
(Sands pack of Wild dog, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain‎, safariLIVE, Arathusa)

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