Friday, 23 June 2017

Cat Report: 16 June - 23 June 2017


Nkuhuma Pride



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(Nkuhuma pride, Image credit: danny nl prox)

16 June - On afternoon drive the Nkuhumas were lying around when WE found them. They later decided to provide some entertainment by getting up and alertly following another predator, a leopard, which promptly gave them the slip. After some grooming they moved off where WE cannot follow.

21 June - The morning dawned with zebra alarm calls ringing through the air. WE went to investigate and found the source of the calls: One of the zebras had been taken down in the early morning hours and the Nkuhumas were feasting on the carcass when WE found them.



Tingana


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(Tingana, Image credit: Joy)

19 June - After having an absence of spots for a couple of days, WE found Tingana ambling along the road on the early morning drive. WE followed him for about an hour before he left the traverse area.

22 June - Tingana was seen in the distance, eyes glowing, on Little Gowrie for a few minutes before the show ended in true “last minute leopard” fashion.


Birmingham Boys


19 June - As evening descended on Djuma, One of the Birmingham males was seen walking down the road and marking his territory as he moved along. WE followed him down the road until he crossed out of the property.


  
Nchila


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(Nchila, Image credit: Patricia Scott)

20 June - Early morning, WE were very pleasantly surprised to find a young female leopard that WE didn’t recognise at first glance. The rare visitor to our property was none other than Nchila, grand daughter of Salayexe. She was clearly agitated and darted out of sight after a few minutes.


Angama Pride

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(Angama Girls, Image credit: MDS)

20 June - WE found the Angama lion pride dozing in the long grass.

22 June - WE caught up with the Angama girls on morning drive sitting alert in the grass and again on afternoon drive moving off about to start their night- time adventures.


Wild Dogs: Sands Break- away pack

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(Sands break-away pack, Image credit: MA)

21 June - WE had a wonderful morning filled with lions, leopards and then some wild dogs to top it all off. WE found the Sands Break Away pack quenching their thirst at Chitwa dam when WE caught up with them.


  
Thandi

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(Thandi, Image credit: Sierra)

21 June - WE found Thandi with her handsome son Thamba drinking at a pan of water. They then went walking through the grass and attempted to hunt a waterbuck.

22 June - Thandi gave WE a welcome surprise she was walking through the long grass, Thamba in tow, and crossed into the Djuma territory. She disappeared into the grass leaving Thamba behind.


  
Thamba

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(Thamba, Image credit: James Richard)

21 June - Thamba and his mother Thandi were found drinking, they then proceeded to walk through the grass and Thandi left Thamba for an attempt at hunting. He was left to call after his mom as she vanished.

22 June - Thamba was seen walking behind Thandi and then later opting to pose nicely on a termite mound looking inquisitively at his onlookers with his bright eyes.



Shadow and cub

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(Thandi and Cub, Image credit: Ali)



23 June - WE found Shadow and her young cub as they were eating breakfast on the windy morning drive. Shadow moved from her perch on the termite mound to a shady spot in the grass uninterested in her admirers.

For more visit: https://www.facebook.com/Shadow.Female.Leopard

Monday, 19 June 2017

Animal Rights Awareness WEek

photo cred: James Hendry


The week of June 17 – June 23 2017 has been designated as Animal Rights Awareness Week. Animal rights awareness hopes to educate the needs of animals around the world, highlighting the fact that all living things have rights and need to be shown compassion, recognition and protection. WE would like to participate and help create awareness for our beloved animals in Africa. As you know we have many endangered animals in Africa, whose rights are at risk. A few of them we are lucky enough to watch LIVE on our daily drives. 
WE would like to celebrate these creatures and remind ourselves and others that their lives matter. 

This is where you come in, WE would like you to vote for an African animal for each day this week so we can raise awareness for the special species. We will create a post on FB and Twitter where you can nominate your animal of choice on the comments section below or tweet your nomination followed by #safariLIVE. 
We will count the votes and the following day we will create a post to celebrate the life of the chosen animal and if we’re lucky even see it on the safariLIVE drive. 

Don’t forget to keep voting throughout the week for your nominated animal.  

Friday, 16 June 2017

Cat report : 9 June - 16 June 2017

Cat report : 9 June - 16 June

Due to popular demand, it was decided to continue publishing the blog version of the cat report. The report will summarise the movements of all cats seen during the week under their respective headings instead of following a daily report.

Birmingham Boys


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(Birmingham boy, Image credit: Gecko)


10 June - WE caught up with a member of the  dominant male coalition, the Birmingham Boys, as he was dozing in the road before getting up and moving off to Torchwood

12 June - WE heard a lion calling throughout the night and the next morning managed to find him in person as he was walking along Vuyatela dam and calling to his brothers

15 June - On morning Safari WE saw the powerful form of a Birmingham male stalking through the mist. WE followed him a while until he disappeared into the thick bush




Tingana

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(Tingana,  Image credit: Ali)

13 June - WE saw Tingana as he appeared in the tall grass and moving on to quench his thirst lapping at the water contentedly




Hosana

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(Hosana,  Image credit: Jason Jones)

9 June - WE caught up with Hosana as he was walking in the road and then attempting to climb a tree, but thought better of it.

12 June -Hosana came bounding out of the bush to catch WE by surprise as he attempted to hunt an impala unsuccessfully

WE was pleasantly surprised at Hosana’s presence when he was lying in the road as WE came around the bend on sunset safari

13 June- WE caught up with Hosana where he was moving through the tall grass before losing sight of him



Thamba


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(Thamba,  Image credit: Tayla)

12 June - WE found Thamba on the road lying regally, he then promptly got up and attempted to hunt a francolin unsuccessfully.





Nkuhuma Pride



(Nkuhuma Pride, Image credit: Gecko)

16 June - The Nukuhuma’s warmed up WE’s cold winter morning when WE found them lying cuddled up together in what can only be described as a lion blanket. The cubs were dozing away and would groom each other on occasion.

- For more go to https://www.facebook.com/Nkuhuma.Lions

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Some changes in the Sabi Sands for WildEarth



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As many of you know the webcam at the Djuma waterhole is one of the oldest wildlife webcams in the world! It was installed by Africam back in 1998 and has pretty much broadcasted unbroken for 19 years.

The camera has been controlled by our volunteer zoomies for some years now. In addition to a source of many hours of viewing enjoyment by safarians around the world it has also been a popular way to listen to the bush. WE really find it useful when viewers let us know what has come down to drink in the night and this has often led to our team finding lions, leopards, etc. faster because we know where to start tracking.

However, in spite of a few upgrades along the way the camera and audio is now not of the quality that WE and Djuma are capable of or want to broadcast. For this reason Djuma and WildEarth have decided to do a complete reinstallation and upgrade on this camera. We will be improving both video and audio quality. We hope that this will all be done by the end of July …

WE have also had to take the difficult decision to not renew our traversing agreements on both Cheetah Plains and Arathusa. Not because there is anything wrong with this traversing [on the contrary] or because we don’t want/need more traversing, but rather because the current traversing rental model that WE has been following is just too expensive to scale.

Now that WE have added the Mara to our shows it has become quite obvious that we need much much more traversing in the Sabi Sands in order to deliver on its huge potential. But if we were to attempt such a traversing expansion with the current costing model it would be economically completely unviable.

The only way to traverse a much much larger area of the Sabi Sands and unlock its full potential is to have a much lower impact on each property. This would mean that WE would need to move from area to area for a few days at a time rather than drive every day on each property. It is our hope that this lower impact over a larger area will make the “marketing value” of safariLIVE sufficient for the Sabi Sands and the various properties in it to allow our wider traversing. Of course it would also mean that you, our viewers, would get to meet many more of the animal characters that you have only read about as well as former regulars that have moved out of our current traversing range.

Its our plan to start reaching out to all the various properties in the Sabi Sands in the next few months after WE have everything working properly in the Mara. So please bear with us as we temporarily reduce our traversing in the Sabi Sands so that we can eventually show you much much more of this magnificent area that WE call home.


This temporary reduction in traversing will also allow us to upgrade the Gowrie repeater [on Djuma] and install a new repeater in Chitwa Chitwa which will  improve our signal coverage on Chitwa Chitwa as well as on parts of Djuma, most notably the Twin Dams area and the Mlilwati river bed.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

The new Cat Reporting




From today WE will be cat reporting differently. Instead of a weekly blog post describing each sighting, WE will be taking it to the cat’s individual facebook pages. This will give you a chance to interact with your favourite cat character in a far more intimate and immediate way. 

In other words, every time a cat is seen on safariLIVE we will update the status of their facebook page, describing what WE saw, as well as adding a short video clip of the sighting. WE would love it for you to then contribute to these new cat reports by sharing thoughts and screenshots in the comments section below of that particular status update/video clip.

Below is a list of links to the official pages of our beloved cat individuals. Please Like, Follow and Share! WE look forward to all your contributions to the Cat Report… 


LEOPARDS
Anderson - Male Leopard
Hosana Male Leopard
Inkanyeni Female Leopard
Karula Female Leopard
Kuchava Female Leopard
Mvula Male Leopard
Quarantine Male Leopard
Salayexe Female Leopard
Shadow Female Leopard
Sindile Male Leopard
Thamba Male Leopard
Thandi Female Leopard
Tingana Male Leopard
Vutomi Male Leopard
Xivambalana Male Leopard
Xongile Female Leopard

LIONS
Birmingham Male Lions
Matimba Males
Nkuhuma Pride of Lions
Styx Pride of Lions
Tsalala Pride
Tsalala Breakaway Pride 



Friday, 9 June 2017

The Cat Report: 2 June - 9 June

Friday 2 June

As the day started to cool on the Sunset safari, WE visited the Styx pride and their cubs
who were finishing off the last of their buffalo kill. The cubs were feisty, scrapping amongst themselves for the last of the tender bits - the lionesses tolerant but occasionally administering some disciplinary growls.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

We had heard reports that a male lion was in the area and it was unsurprising when Ale found it to be Nsuku (one of the Birmingham Boys that often hangs around the Styx pride). He had chosen an area near the river where he could look down onto what was happening on the other side. Ale commented how, being near him, one gets the feeling that you are in the presence of royalty or a very fierce warrior.

 [Screenshot: Lily Brown]


Saturday 3 June

After hearing news of a leopard moving between Little Gowrie and Djuma, Tayla and Ale worked together to connect the spots and succeeded in tracking down the evasive cat to Gowrie Main drainage line. There was some confusion as to who this young male perched regally on the embankment was, but with help from our viewers WE confidently identified him as Thamba, the big-eared and green-eyed grandson of Karula.

 [Screenshot: Agnes Zsiga]


Sunday 4 June

After a mad race to Gowrie Gate, Tayla caught up with Shadow missioning through the grass with great purpose. In her mouth she carefully carried a scrub hare, presumably with the intention of taking it back to her still nursing cub.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

Territorial male leopard Tingana patrolled the Buffelshoek Cutline, brushing his face against the plants and the bushes as he scent-marked his way north of Mvubu Road, causing Ale to wonder if any other leopards would come around and try to challenge him before coming to the conclusion that no, not anytime soon - it’s only us he is challenging, by making us look so very hard for him.

[Screenshot:  Lily Brown]


Tuesday 6 June

On the sunrise safari Ale found Birmingham Boy Mfumo and the Nkuhuma Pride lying on the road near Pangolin track. We looked at the scars that crossed this male lion’s face and were reminded of the battle's he must have fought - these old injuries a sign of how he has managed to survive and dominate this area.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

As we sat with the pride, WE were ecstatic to discover a new member of the Nkuhumas - a tiny still spotted cub only a few weeks old and whom the pride were busy introducing to it’s older siblings.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

More good news appeared on the sunset safari, in the form of our little princess Xongile with a hoisted duiker kill.

[Screenshot: Dave Holm]


Wednesday 7 June

Having finished her kill and left the Marula tree in which it was hoisted it, it was pure luck (and Tayla’s intuition) that WE returned to the old sighting near the end of sunrise safari and found Xongile well fed and looking regal on top of a nearby termite mound - following in her father's footsteps as #lastminuteleopard

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

On sunset safari. WE sat with Tingana, who was on top of another termite mount - this one the den of an unfortunate family of warthog.  In the last half hour of the drive he made his move -  pouncing on one of the larger warthogs and ending it’s life with a slow suffocation before hoisting it high up in a tree.

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]
 

Thursday 8 June

Thursday was a congress of leopards, beginning with Tingana enjoying a warthog breakfast.

[Screenshot: Dave Holm]

Xongile and Thamba were found together, surprisingly, with Thamba balanced high on the branch of a tree and the little princess pacing  in the thickets beneath, making sounds similar (but not) to that of a mating call (being still too young for this to be her intention).

[Screenshot: Lily Brown]

WE also had Shadow and her cub for a brief moment on the road, before losing them in the yellow of the grass as mother and young moved off.

[Screenshot: Saara]

Monday, 5 June 2017

WE are going to start showing rhinos in the Mara

Since rhino poaching started increasing rapidly in South Africa a number of years ago WildEarth, along with many others, decided to restrict available information on the whereabouts of rhinos. For example in the Kruger National Park this meant no longer including rhinos on their sighting boards, for WildEarth it meant avoiding the showing of rhinos on our LIVE broadcasts as much as possible.

Whether or not there is actual value in doing so is debatable, given that poachers mostly rely on local networks for their info, but we have fallen in with this policy. At this point in time we have no intentions of changing that for South Africa.

As most of you know we have started broadcasting from the Maasai Mara in Kenya recently and there are rhinos there as well. This raised the question whether or not the situation in the Mara is the same as in South Africa. And whether WildEarth should show rhinos in Kenya on our broadcasts.

We’ve carefully considered this, not just internally but also by speaking with people on the ground in the Maasai Mara who are intimately involved with park management and law enforcement. The opinions and views expressed by them in these discussions have made us comfortable in the belief that showing rhinos in the Maasai Mara will not increase their risk of being poached.

Therefore we have decided that we will for now stick to the policy of not showing rhinos in South Africa, but that we will show them when we encounter them in Kenya. This difference in policy being based on the differences that exist between the two areas.


We hope that you, as we are, will be looking forward to the occasional black rhino sighting from the Mara and the opportunity to enjoy the sight of these magnificent creatures in the wild.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Cat Report 26 May - 2 June 2017

Friday 26 May

After their morning antics, WE eagerly searched for the Nkuhuma pride again.
WE found the cats relaxed and dozing in the afternoon sun; the cubs were playing around and chewing on sticks to alleviate their itching gums. They took their sleeping regime very seriously and save for the flick of an ear here and there, they remained flat.

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(Nkuhuma cubs , Screenshot Credit: Jenny Spencer, safariLIVE, Djuma - Between Mvubu and Gowrie cutline)

As the light started to fade and WE switched to IR to view our wonderful surroundings, Tingana graced our screens for his signature ‘last-minute leopard’ appearance. Tingana scent-marked a few trees before disappearing into the thick bush where WE were unable to follow him in the fading light.

WE also came across the Sand Pack of wild dogs who delighted us with their inherent affection toward one another. The pack, led by a heavily pregnant female, caused some concern as they sneezed intermittently, but the sneezes were attributed to the dust and not any signs of disease. WE left the pack for other vehicles and guests to enjoy.

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(Sands Pack , Screenshot Credit: Jason Jones, safariLIVE, Arathusa - Near Lodge)

Saturday 27 May 2017

Caturday morning dawned with one of the Birmingham males lying very flat in the grass. He caught wind of something that made him sit upright in a very regal pose and WE identified him as Nenha. He soon strided across the grasslands of Cheetah Plains, head high constantly sniffing whatever scent the wind carried. WE followed the mighty form until he vanished into the thick bush.

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(Nenha , Screenshot Credit: Allan Harris, safariLIVE, Cheetah plains pan)

Sunday 28 May 2017

Sunday afternoon greeted us with the remnant of the morning chill in the air and WE wrapped up warmly before setting out on drive. WE arrived at Cheetah Plains pan with three of the Birmingham Boys basking in the winter sunshine. The only difference between themselves and their carcass was the rise and fall of their golden chests.

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(Birmingham boy , Screenshot Credit: Della, safariLIVE, Cheetah plains pan)


On the other side of our traverse, WE came across energetic wild dogs squeaking and playing around the remains of their antelope kill. The dogs were highly mobile, making it very difficult to keep up with them. They were in high spirits and lifted our own through their joyful banter.

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(Wild dogs - Sands pack , Screenshot Credit: Jason Jones, safariLIVE, Arathusa - Arathusa lodge)

Monday 29 May 2017

Monday started the week off on a high when the Nkuhuma pride arrived with bright yellow eyes and active playfulness in the long grass. The cubs enjoyed themselves as proud mothers lay close by and watched their offspring’s social interactions. One of the moms even joined in the play-stalking and the young cubs happily engaged the older lion’s participation in their morning games.

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(Nkuhuma pride , Screenshot Credit: Della, safariLIVE, Djuma -Between Impala and triple M road)

Later that afternoon, WE caught up with the Nkuhuma pride again to find them dozing in the mild winter sunshine, clearly exhausted from the morning’s play session. WE sat with them for a while in the hopes of the flat cats finding more energy, but the most they could muster was a few yawns. WE left them to enjoy their afternoon sunshine.

Reports of Thandi and Thamba in the area was well received. WE went to investigate and sure enough Thandi was discovered sleeping on a comfortable tree branch, her golden form contrasted by the clear blue sky in the background. Her handsome son, Thamba, rested in the grass close to his mother barely perceptible thanks to his camouflage.

Mom and son eventually started on their dinner of impala ram. WE remained with them for a while before heading off to answer the call of our own dinner beckoning.

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(Thandi , Screenshot Credit: Danny NL Prox, safariLIVE, Chitwa - South of lodge)


Tuesday 30 May 2017

The day dawned with great anticipation as WE headed toward Chitwa to find Thamba and Thandi again. WE weren’t disappointed as mother and son lay on their individual termite mounds looking regally over the cold dawn sunrise.

Thandi later continued on her morning stroll about the bush and Thamba decided to have a very substantial breakfast, gorging himself on what remained of the impala ram kill for no less than a 20 minute feeding frenzy. WE left him to finish his breakfast.

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(Thandi , Screenshot Credit: MA, safariLIVE, Chitwa - South of lodge)



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(Thandi , Screenshot Credit: Ann Del Tredici, safariLIVE, Chitwa - South of lodge)


In the late afternoon sunlight, WE headed back towards Thamba and Thandi to see what they have been up to. WE found Thandi looking terribly unimpressed and slightly bored as WE approached. As the sun started its journey towards the western horizon, she came down from the tree and tore at the remains of the impala kill, which had been stripped down by her son earlier in the day.

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(Thandi , Screenshot Credit: Danny nl Prox, safariLIVE, Chitwa - South of lodge)



As the end of the show rolled in, our ‘last minute leopard’ did not fail to live up to his name making an appearance right on our doorstep at the Vuyatela dam. Tingana walked into the road, lay down right in front of the vehicle giving us a positively thrilling end to the show.


Thursday 1 June 2017

The morning safari started in true winter form as the rays of sunshine broke the icy evening chill. Illuminated by the golden light two buffalo stood grazing peacefully, unaware of the scene that was about to unfold. WE saw the grass move and two sets of hungry eyes emerged - Nkuhuma lionesses had begun to play the patience game. Tawny muscles flexed in anticipation and eventually the two lionesses pounced. The buffalo out-maneuvered the hungry carnivores and the lionesses ended the hunt panting in defeat. They settled under a tree for the warmer part of the day. WE left them to rest with high hopes for a hunt in the evening.

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(Nkuhuma hunting, Screenshot Credit: Fuzzmansparkles, safariLIVE, Djuma - Off buffelshoek cutline)

The Nkuhuma’s started off sunset safari lazing about but WE decided to stay with the pride to see whether they would  amuse us later on...which they did. While they woke up slowly, WE found an unidentified lioness at Sydney’s Dam, calling softly in the darkness. As she called her relatives became mobile and moved towards the sounds of her deep calls. WE followed the Nkuhumas as they sauntered down the road until they crossed the boundary into Buffelshoek.
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(Nkuhuma’s on road, Screenshot Credit:, safariLIVE, Djuma - Buffelshoek cutline)

Just when we thought the cat action had ceased for the evening, WE rushed to reports of a Birmingham male. WE found him sitting up regally, illuminated by the spotlights of the vehicles. It was a great way to end another day in the African bush!
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(Birmingham boy,  Screenshot Credit: Danny nl Prox, safariLIVE, Djuma - Sandy patch)


Thursday 2 June 2017

An unexpected and welcome surprise for the sunrise safari with the Styx moms and cubs, basking beneath a thicket in the cool morning and feasting on their buffalo kill. The cubs played intermittently and WE sat with the pride for a while. Hopefully the family will be there for more entertainment in the sunset safar!  
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(Stix pride,  Screenshot Credit: Patricia Scott, safariLIVE, Chitwa - East of Lodge)