Friday, 14 October 2016

The Cat Report: 08 - 14 October

Saturday, 08 October
The incredible Nkuhumas were at it again! One Birmingham Boy, eight cubs and their three mothers were found in the cold morning, sleeping off their buffalo meal from the night before. Well, moms and dad were sleeping but the babies were more interested in some play time.


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[Screenshot: Susan McDowall]


Later on in the morning, reports came in from the Djuma Dam Cam - a breeding herd of more than 200 buffalo were moving in!
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[Screenshot: Susan McDowall]

With the Nkuhumas nearby Brent was on standby for action. Moving between the lions and the highly mobile buffalo, it wasn’t long before the news revealed itself. Brent was called into a sighting with Taxon - the missing two lionesses had been found, with yet another kill. It was another young buffalo and most of it had already been devoured. It seemed as though there really was no stopping these ladies!


After all the action from the sunrise safari, Brent headed out to find all the lions. Not much had changed however - two of Nkuhuma lionesses were still separate from the pride, lightly snacking on their buffalo kill from the night before.
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[Screenshot: Fran Partridge]

The mothers and their 8 bundles of fuzzy fun as well as one Birmingham Boy, were a close way off, sleeping the day away. Towards the end of the afternoon, as coolness set in the energy levels turned up and we were treated to entertaining episodes of cub playtime!


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[Screenshot: Polly Lantz]

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[Screenshot: Paul Rizzo]



Sunday, 09 October
Sunrise safari led Brent to Queen Karula, looking rather hungry and interested in hunting. The Queen was on a mission to find dinner, but she also made a few stops along the way and scent marked. It was wonderful to spend the remainder of the drive with Karula, ending with the hope of a hunt overnight.
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[Screenshot: Jennifer Esterle‎]


Sunday’s sunset safari began with flat cat lions. Through some very thick bush Jamie managed to eventually count all 8 cubs and their mothers; lying a little further away and at least in clearer visuals, one Birmingham Boy and a lioness.


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[Screenshot: Lily Brown]


After a whole morning, and probably daytime too, of hard work Karula’s expert hunting skills paid off and Brent was lucky enough to be just in time to catch the takedown of a small duiker LIVE. Karula immediately set off looking for the perfect tree to hoist her dinner into, and in his attempts to follow her, Brent encountered some minor mechanical problems. It was nothing that a quick visit from Oupa couldn’t fix, so while the Bush Repair team set to work, Jamie was deployed to follow the action.


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[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Despite our best hopes, Karula didn’t fetch her lovely cubs before the end of sunset safari. She did however successfully hoist the kill and start making her way South again which meant that the possibility of a family breakfast looked strong for the next morning.


Monday, 10 October
True to our suspicions, WE kicked off Monday morning with Karula and her cubs, but not at the sight of the small duiker kill. Along her travels between dinner and cub collection Karula must have encountered impala and used the windy nighttime air to her advantage. Brent found the royal family feasting on an adult male impala carcass - another impressive feat for Karula. Hosana was the most enthusiastic, practising his hunting skills on the carcass in between actually feeding off it. After his munch down, and some playtime with sister Xongile, Hosana took a short break to bask in the sunshine.


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[Screenshot: Laura B]

After being chased around by her brother for a while, Princess Xongile got comfortable and settled in for her mid-morning nap, making the most out of a Leadwood branch for a pillow.


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[Screenshot: Kat Kiss]

As if Karula and her latest additions weren’t enough entertainment, over on Cheetah Plains Jamie was catching up with another member of the royal family - Quarantine. He looked resplendent as ever, and rather full too, with an impressive male kudu kill tucked away in a thicket. Jamie noticed just how much he had grown since she last saw him and enjoyed catching up with another of Karula’s sons. It wasn’t long before the young male was too full of food to ignore sleep and Jamie left him snoozing deeply in the shade.


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[Screenshot: Saara Hupps]

Monday afternoon could easily have been renamed Caturday!
Karula & cubs were still at the impala kill with Hosana doing most of the eating. Kaula lay nearby keeping an eye on him while Xongile remained in the distance, under shady trees.


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[Screenshot: Polly Lantz]

Brent then arrived on Cheetah Plains with a surprise of his own - Thandi! She had a kill of her own - a small duiker. She lay at the base of the tree and Brent left her so that many other guests could meet her, hopeful that by the following morning her cubs would have joined her for the feast.


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[Screenshot: Jane Burdett]

Back to Djuma with Jamie we went, only to be spoiled even more with the Nkuhuma Pride with four females and all our favourite cubs. #TheIncredibleNkhumas, a nickname that is well deserved, had made another buffalo kill - and the cubs were more than content to practise their hunting skills on it, in between the usual games of ‘stalk, pounce and play’ with their siblings and cousins.


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[Screenshot: Andre Droemel]

But that wasn’t all WE had in store for the day - On his way back to Djuma Brent stopped off for one more leopard visit - this time it was Quarantine and his kudu kill. The big man was still feeding off the carcass, but it didn’t take long before he got full again and returned to the task of grooming his fast-growing paws.


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[Screenshot: CheMel]

Tuesday, 11 October
Tuesday sunrise safari began with Brent on Cheetah Plains doing a check up on Thandi. She was still in the same spot, but her duiker dinner was not. She had definitely finished off most of the kill and there were still no cubs in sight.


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[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Over on Jamie’s vehicle we were treated to the most spectacular sunrise light, as we joined Karula, Xongile and Hosana at their impala kill. Xongile treated her mom to some grooming and affection, while her brother treated himself to a very long breakfast.


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[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

After some quality time with the royal family, Jamie then went to visit the #IncredibleNkuhumas. Three of the lionesses, the eight cubs and one lone Birmingham Boy were thoroughly focused on a session of “flat cat-ing”. After too long in the warmth of the sun however, Aunty Amber Eyes decided it was time to head for shade, but all of the cubs had monopolised the closest tree. It turned out that wasn’t going to stop her and she promptly circled and then fell down straight on top of a cub! The poor little thing scampered up from underneath Amber Eyes and waddled off to sulk in a different spot of shade


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[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

On their way back home past Quarantine, Wium spotted another one of the Birmingham Boys. WE wouldn’t have thought it was possible, but he was even more flat than his brother had been just a few metres back; so fast asleep in fact that he didn’t even lift his head to give Jamie a glance.


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[Screenshot: Dispatch Gryphon]

The cats of the Sabi Sand had been on such a roll and they were not about to stop; this time it was special guests who we hadn’t seen for quite some time, if ever!


First up we had Brent stopping in with the Tsalala lions on Arathusa! All three males, the young female and the adult tailless female had grown significantly since Brent had last seen them. Later on in the sunset safari Brent did head back to the Tsalalas and spent more time with them, recounting his memories of the pride and their lineage.


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[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

It was on to the surprise sighting and the excitement was well worth it when Brent arrived at The Anderson Male on the move! This massive male leopard had killed a huge female warthog but was seeking some shade for an afternoon rest. Brent made the most out of his time with Anderson, before he had to leave to share the sight of the best with other vehicles.


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[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

As the sun set however, Brent was able to pop in for another visit and he was treated to the awesome sight of Anderson hoisting his massive feast high into a Marula tree!


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[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Jamie ended our sunset safari with a visit to Karula who had then abandoned the very last morsels of the impala carcass. The queen was lazing in the cool sand of the Milwati, all alone. However it was only in the last few minutes that she succeeded in calling a cub to join her. Jamie was confident that by sunrise safari, the whole family would be reunited.


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[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Weds, 12 October
Another sunrise safari and another adventure with the cats of the Sabi Sand. First up was the royal family - Karula had made her way back to her old duiker kill and hoisted it into a tree from which Hosana was feasting once again! Xongile was content to rest in the shade, uninterested in a fight over food with her brother. Karula kept a careful eye over the entire scene.


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[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Next up Jamie headed on to Arathusa to check up on some less regular guests. The Tsalalas were right at the airstrip, with two of the males running around and chasing each other. The games didn’t last long as the heat of the day began to build. They also looked quite well fed and word on the radio was that they had enjoyed a dinner of buffalo, so Jamie left the lazy cats to their day of slumber.


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[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

And so it was finally time for Jamie to meet the one and only - Mr Anderson. The brute was lazing on the ground after a night of feasting no doubt. He was panting hard in an attempt to digest his large meal, and Jamie sat in awe of this powerful leopard until the end of the sunrise safari.


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[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Sunset safari began with one of the most memorable experiences for the safariLIVE family - Brent found the placenta from an elephant birth and after some amazing teamwork, Jamie grew confident that she’d found the herd with the newborn. She heard the elephants on the edges of the Milwati drainange line, she sat patiently listening to the crack of branches as they fed on trees. Sure enough her patience paid off when the herd emerged with their brand new addition - a male calf who was a mere few hours old. Jamie and Jeandre sat in peaceful enjoyment as they gained the trust of the herd, watching the tiny calf stumbling around his new world. He tumbled down a hill and it was spectacular to see how the herd immediately corralled around the baby and his mother in an instinctual protective response. Once the herd had moved off, Jamie paid them due respect and didn’t follow them. She continued down the Milwati in search of Karula with a smile on her face that was sure to last a very long time!


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[Screenshot: Aaron Barnhill]

It was time for more of #TheIncredibleNkuhumas. The force of these lions had proven itself once again - they had feasted off a wildebeest overnight. One remaining leg from the carcass served as the cubs’ entertainment for the afternoon, and all of their playful delight served as our entertainment! Of course, if the toy got boring they still had all their siblings and cousins to play with!


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[Screenshot: Patricia Scott]

Four of the Nkuhumas were flat cats fast asleep for most of the afternoon, except the youngest lioness who had gained the interest of a Birmingham male.


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[Screenshot: Patricia Scott]

Further down the drainage line of the Milwati, Jamie found Xongile and Hosana, and they were on their own as far as she could see. Hosana even tried to practise his hunting skills by stalking something that Jamie didn’t have visuals of! Karula eventually arrived on scene and unbelievably brought another meal with her! Another impala had succumbed to the queen’s hunting skills and Xongile immediately set to work on the carcass. She had a great time pouncing all over the carcass, practising her throat holds and attacking skills.


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[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Thursday, 13 October
The safariLIVE Big Cat streak lives on! Brent headed back to Karula and her latest impala conquest. Xongile and Hosana were full of energy in the cool morning, playing with each other and practising their hunting, stalking and tree climbing skills. After a while even Karula joined in on the games. Brent spent a great morning with the royal family until they ran out of their energy and got settled for their morning naptime.


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[Screenshot: Kim Fross]

Sunset safari set off with a slight gremlin-induced delay but it wasn’t long before the team was out in the field. Karula and her royal babies were enjoying their impala meal until Karula decided it was time to stash it up in a tree. WE were treated to the wondrous sight of her power as she dragged her huge impala carcass up the Marula tree.


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[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Suddenly the scene burst into Wild Dog pandemonium and Brent arrived on scene with the dogs ravenously finishing off a scrub hare kill. However, the excitement turned into panic when the Wild Dogs sniffed out Karula’s kill and ran in to investigate. First it was all leopards in trees safe and sound, until Hosana lost focus and ended up back on the ground. This forced Karula down to distract the dogs from her precious cub. Thankfully, Hosana realised his error and was promptly sent back up a tree by mom. It was a close call for the afternoon but luckily it ended with all members of the royal family safe and sound and the wild dogs trotting off to find a more accessible dinner..


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[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Friday. 14 October
A rainy Friday morning greeted the safariLIVE team as WE set off for drive. Jamie and Bryan were treated to more wonderful scenes with Karula, Xongile and Hosana and it seemed as though the cool weather really brought out the young and fun side of the Queen. She was stalking and chasing her cubs as if she was still a cub!


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[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Brent headed out to search for some lions and ended up with the youngest female of the Nkuhuma pride and her Birmingham Boy suitor.  A herd of nearby impala proved to spike their interests and they moved towards them stealthily, but the sighting was regrettably cut short
when the rain began to tumble quite fiercely and Brent and Jamie both headed for a morning in The Tent.


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[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

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[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

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