Wildlife stole the show in 2014 with many moments that amazed us, time and again. Leopards, lions, new cubs, stolen kills, unusual interactions, battles between animals and the wonderful season of new births, we had it all. These riveting moments were shared on the blog – bringing you closer to the action that plays out everyday in the wild.
Today we share with you our top wildest sightings of the year…
This sighting seen and captured by Mike Sutherland caused a fever of excitement and some envy from other rangers! Mike had first seen the Tutlwa female and her cubs together, grooming and playing and had watched as the female stashed an impala kill into the fork of a marula tree. What later followed took them by complete surprise. The Marthly male, father to the cubs, found the scent of the kill and made his way to the tree, chasing the female and stealing her kill.
Not one leopard but three! James Tyrrell and his guests watched as Tu Tones and Camp Pan, father and son, mated with the Tamboti female. This sighting counted as the third one for James who had previously seen these two males mating with the same female at the same time. The video and photographs of this sighting is fascinating to watch.
Andrea Campbell and tracker Bennet Mantonsi had left camp with the intention of finding the Tsalala pride. They were successful and found the lions sleeping. It was not until a little later that their luck set in and monkey alarms led them to a four-metre long python in the process of suffocating an impala. This was followed by a bold lion that proceeded to take a chance against the snake and stole its hard earned meal!
Richard Burman was on his way back to the lodge when the radio buzzed informing guides of a wild dog kill. He raced to the scene to see a flurry of activity, dogs feeding on an impala. The excitement levels spiked when a black cloud of vultures descended on the carcass. The sighting got even better when growls were heard and the Tamboti young female made her way into the pack and grabbed the kill. The back and forth fight between the wild dogs and leopard eventually ended with a single victor…
We enjoyed this interaction of something a little more unusual – an encounter between a pack of wild dogs and a herd of zebras. Chris Goodman sat amused as he watched the wild dogs tease the stallion of a small herd. The stallion however would have none of it and fought back, each time to the whining cackle of joy from the dogs.
Stealing seems to be the easiest way to get something without having to do the actual hunt. So it was that guest Kee Loon got to watch an unbelievable scene play out in front of him. It began with a leopard killing a warthog, piercing screams, followed by stillness and a lone hyena lurking nearby. The cat however had even more to worry about. Within a few minutes the Sparta pride appeared… The pride had the upper hand in numbers and managed to frighten off the leopard, much to his dismay.
It was a cold winter’s morning when Don and his guests spotted the Vomba Young male. They saw him in the brush but his sleek form soon disappeared. Don proceeded to try locate the leopard. Instead the leopard had a surprise in store for them! The guests on the vehicle managed to film their unexpected encounter quite by chance.
One of the best sightings of 2014 was most definitely James Tyrrell’s sighting of a clan of hyena against a pride of lions. The images and video are quite unbelievable – especially hearing the eerie calls of the hyena.
When the Londolozi team came across an elephant seen with a tight snare around its foot – we were quick to get assistance to remove this. One of the touching moments that came from this was seeing how each elephant tried to help the injured youngster. Amy Attenborough captured some of these tender moments and shared this on the blog.
This sequence of images taken by Amy Attenborough shows the mighty force of two hippos fighting in a territorial battle. As Amy says: ‘You’ll never look at the ‘placid hippo’ in the same light again’.
Trevor Ryan McCall-Peat and his guest Irene were two of the luckiest people at the right place and time. They had stopped to look at a herd of elephants when they noticed that the herd was acting in a strange manner. This ended with a highlight for Trevor and Irene as they watched an elephant give birth.
Not long after, staff at Londolozi watched as a nyala gave birth in the confines of Varty Camp.
Lions and Buffalo are two iconic prizefighters of the African bush. To see a a fight between the two was an adrenaline filled moment for everyone involved. James Tyrrell captured the extraordinary scenes of this incredible battle.
By far our most popular blog of the year, the lion and porcupine story filmed by Lucien Beaumont has travelled across the word and has been viewed over 3 million times on YouTube. A porcupine has an unfortunate encounter with a pride of 17 lions but manages to fend them off, becoming the unlikely victor.
Written by: Kate Collins
Which of the above moments fascinated you the most? Share with us in the comments below!