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If you have been following the blog this week, you will know that there was a lot of lion conflict. But despite the sad events, we also had visits from long lost friends, new arrivals, and one particular spotted individual who seems to be taking up residence on Londolozi – we hope, at least, for a little while! Enjoy this Week in Pictures…
Last week we had mating leopards killing warthogs, and this week started with mating warthogs! This pair wasn’t as bloodthirsty though, and settled for some grass afterwards.
It had been so long since we’d seen the Nyeleti Young Female. She has most likely been in the same area, in and around the Manyeleti River, but it was difficult to access for a while after the floods this year. Nevertheless she looks in great condition!
The timing was perfect as she was just waking up from an afternoon nap in the riverbed. Leopards tend to yawn and groom before becoming active, and the Nyeleti Female also stretched a bit.
She came out of the riverbed and scanned the plains for impala, posing beautifully on a fallen tree.
A dazzle of zebra drink at Circuit Pan close to sunset.
When we saw three of the Sparta Pride lionesses one evening with one of the orphans in tow, we were all touched by the tenderness the mother-of-three showed towards the orphan. Clearly all were hungry, particularly the lioness who had been nursing 5 cubs – her own 3 plus the 2 orphans. Her 3 cubs plus the other orphan had been left behind while the lionesses hunted.
They would secure a wildebeest kill later that night, but unfortunately at the demise of the orphan. This was the last photo taken of the Sparta cub. She was killed when the Tsalala Pride came to their kill, most likely upon hearing the sounds of feeding from nearby. A tragic end to a touching tale.
We had a lovely morning with the hyenas at their den site. The two ‘younger’ cubs were out playing, as well as several other clan members.
One pesky individual – we weren’t sure of her rank in the clan – kept bothering the others. Here she kept ‘pawing’ one sub-adult, seemingly only to irritate him!
Finally the mother hyena had enough and confronted her. Just a simple nip on the mouth from the dominant female was enough to get the troublemaker to move off.
Hyena cubs are so curious, they can be difficult to photograph because they come so close to the vehicle!
A baby hippo rests on its mother. Hilarity ensued when the youngster got a fright from the oxpecker perched on its back, and fell off, little legs waving in the air!
We were happy to find the Maxabene 3:2 Young Male one morning. We hadn’t seen much of him lately and were curious to see if he continues to become territorial. He was more interested in waiting outside a warthog burrow, however, and enjoyed the sunshine while doing so.
An elephant casually walks by a mating pair of lions on the airstrip. Or so they thought… Once he passed by, he quickly turned around and charged them, chasing them into a thicket. Elephants often ‘pretend’ to be nonchalant when investigating a situation.
The winter sun rises over Sparta.
Two Tsalala lionesses stand at attention, looking towards some alarming impala in the distance. They were clearly agitated, and they had recently chased a member of their own pride off with one of the Majingalane Males. We would find out later, however, that that wasn’t their only conflict that day. Having seeing where their tracks had come from, we found the carcass of the Sparta orphan cub, whom they had killed.
The Tsalala cubs from last year are getting very big. Unfortunately we have to report that only 2 remain from the original 8 – and both from the first litter.
We often note the strength and durability of the 3 Tsalala Pride lionesses, shown clearly by the absence of 2 of their tails from fights with hyenas. They are intense animals, and this week reminded all the other lions around that Londolozi is their territory.
An elephant feeds on a Round-leafed teak branch in typical fashion – by twirling it between the molars to remove the nutritious outer bark layer, and then discarding the rest.
A huge highlight this week was a fourth discovery of the Dudley Riverbank Female and cub. We found them on an impala kill, which kept them in a good viewing area for the next 2 days. This was fantastic not only for the guests and rangers who hadn’t seen her, but gave the youngster some good exposure to the vehicles.
The cheetah seen last week has stuck around! We shared an exciting morning with him one day, watching him wake up, play around a bit, and search for food. He appears to be quite a young male, and his playfulness showed.
It was a clear morning, and as he strode across the plains investigating his new domain, the Drakensberg Mountains could be seen in the distance.
He posed beautifully, scanning for prey from a fallen tree.
Then he did something we didn’t expect – he climbed a tree! Just after I had explained to the guests that leopards climb trees, cheetahs don’t. Their claws are not fully retractable which makes it difficult for them to climb. But this curious youngster seemed keen on getting a vantage point.
Unfortunately his tree-climbing capabilities were put into question when he subsequently fell out! Luckily he was not bothered by the fall, and climbed straight back up!
This young male has been seen consistently in the same area for two weeks now and we’re hoping he’ll stay on. He was also scent-marking – a sign he might be staking this area out as his territory.