Friday the 9th of December
This weeks cat report began with a roar as WE spent a truly electric afternoon with the Nkuhuma pride. The cats themselves didn’t get up to much, other than hiding from the scorching heat and sleeping off their latest meal. But as is typical for the African bush in summer, the tremendous heat lead to an equally tremendous storm complete with nature's own soundtrack and laser light show. The lions slept soundly as the roaring lightning and thunder drew ever nearer making quite the spectacular scene to behold. Eventually it was time to let sleeping lions lie as WE left them with only moments of the sunset safari left.
(Lions and lighting, Screenshot Credit: Aileen Kane, safariLIVE, Djuma)
A little further to the west a spotted surprise lay in wait for us. The long missed Shadow, daughter of Karula, had been found on Arathusa. Lately Shadow has been spending most her time to the south of our traverse so any sighting with her is a true wilderness treat. In true royal fashion, Shadow rested her slender spotted body atop the peak of a tall termite mound while she surveyed the afternoons going ons around her. The immense popularity of the sighting however limited our time there and eventually WE moved on in search of a few more wilderness treats.
(Shadow resting on a termite mound, Screenshot Credit: Ravi Teja, safariLIVE, Arathusa)
Saturday the 10th of December
Despite a quite and rather damp start to the morning the afternoon exploded into action with another adrenalin inducing lion sighting. Tayla was called to the north east corner of Djuma as the six Nkuhuma cubs had been found resting up by themselves, with the adults out hunting. As she arrived at the sighting squeals of distress wrought the air and six tiny tawny cats went sprinting off through the bush. Tayla drove straight towards the distress calls and found Amber Eyes Nkuhuma eagerly devouring the fresh carcass of a nyala calf while the other three adults were consuming large mouthfuls of the calf's mother. Once the six little terrors arrived they quickly tucked in and squabbled viciously over who got to feed where. Eventually the rambunctious youngsters were driven off what remained of the carcass and the adults tucked in. Eventually Tayla had to leave our lovely lions as many other excited safari goers approach for their chance to see the lions.
(Floppy eared Nkuhuma cub calling to her siblings and cousins, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Tuesday the 13th of December
After two quiet days on the feline front, it was about time WE had a big cat sighting! Of course what better way to get back into it than the poser himself, Quarantine. He had been found making his steady way north across Cheetah Plains. Brent raced across to the east where he eventually caught up with the astonishingly handsome young male leopard. It seems Quarantine has not only grown in size but confidence too. He paced through the bush with determination scent marking his newly established territory. His hollow belly was also evidence of his ever growing appetite and he made sure to spare some time checking under nearby bushes for an unsuspecting tasty morsel. Eventually he crossed out of our traversing area and melted into the thickening verdant bush.
(Quarantine male leopard on the prowl, safariLIVE, Cheetah Plains)
Wednesday the 14th of December
The afternoon kicked off with a rather surprising sighting of two safariLIVE favourites. Tingana and Karula had been discovered mating near to red dam on Arathusa. Now, before anxious knots start tying themselves tightly in stomachs, Karula’s cubs are fine and well. They had been found earlier in the day to the south of our traverse. This still leaves they mystery as to why Karula seems to have come back into estrous despite the two royal cubs, many supposed this is a false estrous designed to keep the great Tingana placated in case he were to turn on her latest successful litter. The cats mate frequently and with aggressive vigor. Eventually WE left the sighting as there had been another interesting development just to the north.
(Karula and Tingana taking a break on top of a termite mound, Screenshot Credit: Karen Gilliam, safariLIVE, Arathusa)
Shadow had been found resting wistfully near red dam. Every now and then her ears would twitch to the south, no doubt hearing the cacophony created by her mother and male companion. Shadow herself did not seem too bothered by this as she gazed across the blooming landscape made so by recent and relentless rain. Her belly hung low and heavy, and although it can often be difficult to tell with the big cats, it did seem as though it hung a little lower and rounder than usual. Now with out a good look at her mammaries WE cannot say for sure, but it does seem as though she is pregnant once again and close to giving birth. WE left the young princess of Arathusa to her evening business as the sun sank over the western horizon, here’s hoping to a few more royal cubs in the near future!
(Shadow resting up near red dam, safariLIVE, Arathusa)
Thursday the 15th of December
Another spot of luck this morning, or more accurately two! Karula and her handsome companion Tingana had now made their way across to Djuma. The pair were located near one of Karula’s favourite haunts. Once again they mated with enthusiasm and post mating aggression. Paws and claws flew threw the air as wild growls broke the dawn chorus. The weather however was not as kind to us, WE had to leave as great squalls of water battered down upon to vehicles threatening to undo all the tech team's hard work. Later that afternoon the amorous felines were found once again. Yet the day was now warm and sunny and Tingana along with Karula decided it was time for a brief respite from their activities. Eventually however the day cooled off and they mated a few more times before eventually the sunset safari came to an end.
(Karula and Tingana, Screenshot Credit: Gail Murphy, safariLIVE, Djuma)