Is it just me or do you sometimes feel there are just not enough hours in the day?!
Not only have we spent some quality time with Xivindzi, as well as the leopard family, but we even had a sighting of the rare wild hunting dogs!! Albeit briefly, but we had the pack of 6 adults plus 5 pups run out in front of us after we responded to the radio call about them. I was thinking the pack had already moved on and was working out where was best to go when all of a sudden 1 popped out and ran west over mmm road, quickly followed by another and then the rest of the pack streamed out of the bush in front of us!
They looked to be picking up the scent of something in the bush, then it was back onto mmm. WE were surrounded by them! I even had a pup come right up to Ganda totally oblivious to us, focused on what the adults were doing. They had decided to head south and it looked like they were heading for the buffalo herd. As the pups started to follow, something caught the attention of all the pack almost instantaneously and as quick as lightning they were bolting right past the vehicles back the way they had come. With it getting dark I didn’t follow but tried to see what had scared them. Nothing showed it self, what ever it was would have to remain a mystery. What puzzled me was the appearance of an adult who seemed either totally unaware of what taken place a few minutes before or was so confident what ever it was had gone. Trotting along in the direction the pack had headed, the trail was found and it too disappeared as darkness fell!
Karula and family on the 24th Sept 2011, Sheryl Foot
The last couple of days we have had Karula with both cubs feeding from another impala, this time on the firebreak close to Tamboti dam. Graham found them on the 22nd not too long after the kill had been made.
Debra Baudoin of Xivindzi
Xivindzi was busy feeding when Seb arrived. Sadly this time of year we are going to be seeing more female impala being taken. With them being pregnant and carrying slightly more weight it will slow them down a bit, which will make them an easy target for predators like Karula.
I think having fed well last week on another impala, the family are taking a little longer to finish this carcass, especially when you consider barely a day had passed by before they finished that meal and fled from the hyena.
Xivindzi 20th Sept by Pat
What I have found so fascinating is to see the interactions between the family but also to see what they get up to when they are on their own! Sept 20th was when Marc and I spent almost all afternoon with Xivindzi on galago shortcut. Her brother was no where to be seen, Karula must have been off hunting the result of which caused the family to relocate to their present location on the firebreak.
It was a delight to watch her curiosity as possibly a mouse caught her eye and then a go-away bird. After lounging around the termite mound occasionally surveying the area from her vantage point, she became restless and started to search for hidden snacks and climb trees that looked like they would provide entertainment in one way or another!
Xivindzi by Bobby Hampton
At one point the female with the 2 notches in her right ear dropped by and to our amazment Xivindzi stayed put on her log and watched as the hyena approached. Her normal nemesis simply regarded her from a couple of meters away before stolling away in the direction we had seen floppy ear snoozing! This was also amazing as she was relaxing a few meters from where Xivindzi had first been sitting when we arrived!
Speaking of hyena, it reminds me of another incredible interaction we were lucky enough to witness. The morning of the 21st started slow until we had a radio call about one of the mother hyena carrying a cub towards the old hyena den on Phillamon’s cutline. I was close by so responded. By the time we caught up with the mother she was already at the den and no sign of the cub, but we were not alone. The Gowrie gang had also turned up during their search for breakfast. Understandably the mothers kept a respectful distance from the potential threat, but Gawdy, the only male in the group, made a bee-line straight towards the spotted predator. Brimming with confidence as he walked, he tried to intimidate her by shaking the tree branches he was stood on. She turned from him at which point it seemed both understood each other and their capabilities. She did take chances and squeezed into the opening, maybe checking the cub was as far back out of reach from the danger that lurked outside. We waited until eventually she struggled to back out of the hole. Satisfied, she started to move away from the hole in the direction she had just come from possibly to go and collect the other cub.
It was then that Gawdy went to investigate. Keeping his distance, he bent low to the ground, trying to see what the mother had left behind. She realised what he was upto and came charging back in to chase him off! Gawdy gave up maybe a little too easily, casually walking away from her at which point she set on her mission once again. We lost her in the drainage line East of Weavers nest and even when we returned to wait at the den, the baboons were still foraging, but there was no sign of her returning. We still don’t know if she is there, we have been back a couple of times but no sign so far, she might have moved again or something might have happened during the time she was away. Baboons have been known to kill cheetah and leopard cubs, so a hyena cub could also be taken. It is hard to say if Gawdy returned, but personally I don’t think he did, I think he was curious but was not willing to go into the hole as he was extremely weary of what could be in there!
Thank you so much to everyone for sending in pictures, I tried to use as many as I could!
I can’t wait to see what the next few days have in store for us!
Written by Tara