Djuma Private Game Reserve » Floppy ear http://www.djuma.com Experience the Magic of Djuma Live! Sun, 12 Feb 2017 02:41:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.16 A leap of leopards! http://www.djuma.com/2011/a-leap-of-leopards/ http://www.djuma.com/2011/a-leap-of-leopards/#comments Fri, 04 Nov 2011 10:04:30 +0000 http://www.djuma.com/?p=1285

Wow wow wow! Did I say Wow already?!

Hi everyone! What an incredible sighting we had on the 2nd Nov! Father, son of 3 years old and cubs of 1 year old together!

Floppy ear nursing her cubs

Drive started slowly due to it being so cold. I was completely wrapped up in bennie, scarf, fleece and wind breaker with just my eyes showing through! Seb took us to the hyena den where we found floppy ear giving her cubs their breakfast, while teddy and the gang had to satisfy themselves with cuddling for warmth.

One cub even went to lie next to the nursing cubs, resting it’s head on the back of one! Everyone seemed content until Floppy ear noticed and tried to lunge at the intruder while her own children were still feeding from her! The cub got the message and went to sit on it’s sibling while it proceeded to wash itself. Teddy on the other hand was watching from a safe distance at the den entrance, for once keeping out of trouble!  Eventually everyone settled and went back to snoozing, so we took our que and left.

Teddy waiting!

It was an hour or so later we ended up around tree house dam and while we sat watching the orange-breasted bush-shrike we heard something call.

I thought it was a leopard calling, but with my ears covered by my hat and hood, I could barely hear it! Seb thought it was the end part of lion’s roar, but with the machines buzzing it was difficult to say for sure! Happy at the prospect lions could be in the area, we hoped to hear the calling again to get a direction at least, unaware at what we were about to witness!

Orange-breasted bush shrike

Driving off the dam wall, we noticed floppy ear following her nose with a cub in tow, heading straight for the drainage line. She looked to have the scent of something, but thick bush deterred us from following the two hyena, so we tried a little further along the road to to see if we could relocate her. Eagle eyed Seb caught sight of a duiker, who suddenly clocked us and sped away! But both of us we so busy watching where the dwarf antelope had just been, neither of us had spotted the 2 leopard cubs sitting quietly on the side of the road also spying on the duiker!  It was only when Xivindzi darted in front of the Ganda in the direction of where the duiker disappeared, did we see her! At which point I turned to see where she had come from and sure enough there was Xivambalana curiously watching his sister! Could it be the duiker saw the spotted felines and was fleeing for it’s life rather than us? What ever the reason, the cubs tried to follow but lost interest as they climbed the banking on the other side of the drainage line.

Yambilu-Jordaan – the cubs father

At this point we moved to get a better view of them on the other side, not being too far from the junction Elephant skull and Weaver’s nest road, we could be with them in a minute or 2. Just as we arrived to where they were relaxing, something caught their attention, tails were twitching like mad! Following their gaze I could see another larger leopard approaching out of the bush from the South, my heart was in my mouth I saw it was a male, but luckily it took moments to realise it was Yambilu-Jordaan…their father! He had seen them! Karula was nowhere in sight and I wondered how he would react as he strolled out into the open.

 Y-J and his daughter Xivindzi!

Xivindzi took the initiative, obviously she recognized him as a leopard to trust. She eagerly walked right up to him and greeted him, even took a swipe at his nose! Xivambalana took his time but also came to greet his father but didn’t get as warm a response as his sister did! Once again Yambilu-Jordaan looked like he was taking on babysitting duty!

Yambilu-Jordaan and his son Xivambalana

The cubs soon tired of dad and started to make their way back across the drainage line at which point he started to follow. Unable to see any of them we once again moved giving us a better view of the Northern side of the drainage line. Literally where we had first seen Xivindzi there was another leopard who the cubs had gone to greet. I immediately thought it was Karula. It wasn’t dad they had lost interest in, it was the return of mum! This assumption was completely blown out of the water when “Karula” turned towards the camera and we could see the markings and neck of non-other than Induna!!

Arrows point to where the 4 leopards were in the same shot, although fairly close together it was one of the few times we had all 4 in shot!

So now we had 4 leopards in the sighting, I must admit I did wonder if I had miss identified Y-Jordaan and it was in fact Induna, but he would have to have flown and changed direction pretty quickly to have been the same leopard. This leopard appeared to have come from the north and looked towards where we had last seen Yambilu-Jordaan heading into the drainage line. Moving once again as Induna started to walk towards the drainage line, the fourth leopard was reviled for a second time We hadn’t miss id’ed him! There was a proud father sitting in the shade, with his son of almost 3 years making his way passed him and his youngest two following their brother with curiosity.

Induna on the left and Yambilu-Jordaan, his father on the right

Induna seemed to be less than interested in them and proceeded to come and sit right by the vehicle, making it difficult to see him. This was a catch 22, do we move and risk scaring him or stay put and not see what would happen if the cubs came to see him. We stayed put as Xivindzi couldn’t help herself and came to see her older brother, who didn’t greet her with open arms, being less than friendly towards her, maybe he remembers her batting him on the nose! We took the risk, Induna flinched but stayed put realising we were backing off from him. It was a little too much for Xivindzi and with a negative reaction from her brother, she removed herself.

Brothers together!

Next to investigate was Xivambalana but Induna was even more put out with this! He tried to stand his ground and snarled at his sibling when he tried to get closer, at which he just snarled back. For a little while it looked like a trews had been agreed, with both looking in different directions, but when one caught the other’s eye there were words again! Induna eventually give in and moved off for some peace and quiet!

It was fascinating to watch Xivambalana follow his brother. It was almost like a younger brother watches an elder in admiration and not getting the attention he wants so just becoming annoying instead! Yambilu-Jordaan also decided it was time to move on, stopping every so often to his mark territory.

Yambilu-Jordaan on the right and his daughter Xivindzi on the left

Induna followed his father and being almost 3 years old, he added his scent to the mix and once again Xivambalana was keen to join them! A couple of times Induna reitterated his irritation at his younger brother tagging along, each time he was dissuade for a longer period before  continuing to follow!

Induna telling his brother to stay away!

Xivindzi seemed to not want to miss out on any action, so she brought up the rear watching her male relatives go about their business! Eventually though she decided, after another irritated growl from Induna, to leave them to it and headed back towards the drainage line. We had lost visual of the boys as they headed South across the road and with Xivindzi disappearing on us, it seemed the right time to say goodbye.

Xivambalana, waiting  for his brother to move on!

While we were with this incredible sighting, we heard Karula had not been too far away from this drama. Another guide had found the remains of an impala in a marula tree close to the junction Weaver’s nest and Elephant skull road. We decided to have a quick check, so we knew where it was for afternoon drive. Sure enough it was a little way in to the bush, but there was Karula, the carcass and little Xivindzi, who was busy adding a few extra mouthfuls of breakfast to her belly! She must have gone straight back to feed once she decided to leave the boys!

Karula

What an amazing morning, the interactions between all the leopards, the lack of Karula being there to chaperone her elder son. I wonder if she was watching from her vantage point while guarding the kill to make sure Induna wasn’t going to steal it! It did look like he had come from that direction now we know a little more of the puzzle. It could have been Yambilu-Jordaan who we heard calling and Induna may have responded to the call. I have no doubt they can recognise each other’s voice. There are any number of scenarios that could account as to why they were all in the one area. One thing I know for sure was that it was magic and I hope we get chance to see more interactions between the family to try and understand more about these intriguing felines!!

Afternoon wash before bed

We did go back that afternoon, but bumped into the young family as Karula escorted her cubs towards Inga’s house where they ended up resting and digesting their meal! Xivambalana must have had more than his fair share as Xivindzi’s belly didn’t look as full as his. She seemed to be more alert and we watched as a sound caught her attention. Slowly she made her way to a bush and pulled out a young chelonian which she promptly ate. She then disappeared following what was possibly another potential snack, leaving her brother and mother behind!

Thank you once again to everyone sending in such wonderful pictures to help make the Blog possible! If anyone missed the amazing interaction here is the link to muttluver’s video on you tube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UuuXlD07Zs.

Written by Tara

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Family reunions http://www.djuma.com/2011/1143/ http://www.djuma.com/2011/1143/#comments Mon, 24 Oct 2011 12:00:18 +0000 http://www.djuma.com/?p=1143

Hi everyone,

Once again we have had some wonderful interactions this week! We have been fascinated by the hyena clan and a few mysteries there have been solved!

Teddy!

We have only really seen Teddy’s mum over the last few visits with the other 2 mothers being very scarce! I was convinced floppy ear was mum to the oldest set of cubs out of the 4, but sadly my bubble was well and truly burst on the 20th Oct, when an old looking lady came back to the den with what seemed to be a kudu leg. She allowed the older cubs, her offspring, to feed on it while keeping the other 2 and even teddy at bay.  What was interesting was the fact Teddy’s mum sniffed this female’s genitals, a standard greeting, when she arrived. This confirmed to us Teddy’s mum was lower in rank to the dominant female, even though Teddy seems to act otherwise! This mother has both ears in tact and has a small pink spot under her nose which you might see on the picture.

We still were not 100% sure if floppy ear was the other mother, thankfully though this mystery was resolved when a couple of days later our lady wandered up to the den to nurse the other 2 cubs! For some reason we have just been missing the other mothers when we visit the den. Both sets of cubs are probably around 8 months old now and will soon be joining the adults when they go foraging for food, but they may continue to nurse until they are a year to a year and half old!

Floppy ear and her cubs!

The latest on the other spotted family was a report about one of the cubs being on the quarantine open area 20mins after we closed down last night! The last time they had been seen before this was by Marc on the 22nd. Both Xivindzi and Xavambalana were spending some quality time resting together on Impala plains, after some intense play with Karula. They had been found at the hyena den on Zoe’s road that morning before they made their way to the plains where Karula left her family to go and hunt. It is amazing the size difference that is already showing between the two cubs and how much both have grown almost catching mum up!

Xivambalana is sitting at the back, his sister Xivindzi in front. (Although Xivindzi looks even smaller than she is in this picture from the perspective it was taken from!)

It is a wonder where Karula had left them the day before as Seb and myself found Xivindzi down in the drainage line by Tree house dam after a squirrel was calling at the top of it’s lungs about the impeding danger! She was certainly eager for food, jumping after birds, watching anything else that moved, as she wound her way through the bush, using the odd termite mound for an advantage point. Although she did miss the impala, until they spotted her and they also gave the alarm! The other guides had Karula heading down to tree house dam, but we couldn’t stay for the reunion. It is anyone’s guess what they got up to between then and the morning when they were found by the hyena den!

Xivindzi on the left, Xivambalana on the right

Yambilu-Jordaan even made an appearance this week on the 19th and 20th we caught up with him! He had taken a male nyala down by the gate on the morning of the 19th. Marc headed back later that afternoon and found Mixo had joined his father, but sadly we didn’t see him the following morning. He may have been there and we missed him or he may have either been encouraged to moved on by his father or decided to leave on his own accord. What was great to see was Yambilu-Jordaan starting relax with us being there. He became more bothered by the flies then our presence and looked like a cub again as he struck out and tried to catch them as they buzzed this way and that!

Lastly the check list challenge is well under way with some great finds like the fish eagle, spoonbill, tree agama, leopard tortoise and even both the Nile and Rock Monitor!

Nile Monitor

Written by Tara

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Floppy ear invites herself to breakfast! http://www.djuma.com/2011/floppy-ear-invites-her-self-to-breakfast/ http://www.djuma.com/2011/floppy-ear-invites-her-self-to-breakfast/#comments Sun, 18 Sep 2011 20:02:41 +0000 http://www.djuma.com/?p=769

Stacy

Hi everyone!

What a brilliant way to spend the weekend, among our favourite spotted families!

We have been so privileged to watch Teddy, the hyena cub, drinking from his/her mother and having the 6 other cubs come and check us out so closely.

From what I have seen, the youngest out of the 6 we saw at the old hyena den off Phillamon’s cutline is no longer with us. The two oldest who were born around June 2010 to the female with 2 notches in her right ear are still noticeably larger then the rest of the youngsters there.

You may remember when we found the hyena den on Philamon’s cutline there were 6 cubs. The oldest 2 were drinking from floppy ear, the middle 2 from another female; but seemed fairly close in age to floppy ear’s 2. These 4 are still at the den on Zoe’s road and they are the ones we see a lot off. But when the clan moved I remember only seeing 1 of the very young cubs and now I don’t think the second is there either. I hope I am wrong but from what I have seen it seems to be the case.

Happily though the newest arrival, Teddy looks to be doing well and is starting to develop spots, this tiny bundle must be around 2 months old now!

Pulllllll! Teddy was being a bit rough on mum! 16 Sept

In fact it was because of the hyena Marc found Karula yesterday! We were on our way to check out the old hyena den off Phillamon’s cutline yesterday morning, when Marc saw the unmistakable silhouette of a leopard in a Marula tree. As we picked our way through the bush, we realised it was none other than Karula herself!

Karula tucking in!

She had hoisted the carcass of an impala ewe into the tree and was having her share before fetching the family! In the past we have seen her leave it to go and collect the cubs, so I wonder if she might have been extremely hungry!

The temperatures increased through out the day and as we pulled back into the sighting later in the afternoon it was clear she was hot and bothered, panting heavily as her meal was digesting. The carcass had made it’s way into the fork of the tree, no doubt with a little help from the cubs! Xivambalana was busying himself with it while his sister slept. Just as he was really getting his teeth into it, something caught his attention…Floppy ear, the matriarch hyena. There was some debate as to whether it was her or not, but from pictures taken a year ago, she has the slight pink on her nose and pink ear tip on her left ear. I have no doubt it is our old lady who has been in hiding!

Floppy ear matriarch hyena 17 Sept

She waited patiently but even when the cubs swapped positions, there was no tit bit until the following morning. Only the legs and a bit of meat remained, but as Xivindzi ate, each piece eventually slipped through her claws dropping to a perfectly positioned hyena below! A successful stake out!

Karula enjoying a decent meal! sept 17

Karula made her getaway just as the hyenas were dropping off to sleep, she leaped from the tree and hit the ground running. When she realised nobody had bothered pursuing her she stopped to look from behind the safety of the vehicle. It was only when a young hyena came in and followed her did she turn tail and disappear into the bush.

Xivambalana and Karula

For a long while the cubs were checking where she had gone, but Xivindzi settled down to snooze while Xivambalana was restless. He was trying to work out a way to leave without having the watchdogs on his heals! Eventually he chose what looked to be the most awkward route down and once on the ground, the hyenas didn’t even bat an eye lid as he scampered off to join his mother who was waiting for him out of sight!

Xivindzi making her getaway!

As soon as Xivindzi saw her mother, she too made the daring escape, to which floppy ear only lifted her head to see which direction the spotted felines went and decided it wasn’t worth wasting energy on so stayed put!

What a brilliant way to spend a Sunday morning!! Thank you to everyone sending in your wonderful screen captures to help make this Blog!

Written by Tara

 

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