I’m going to start off with probably the best sighting of the month for me – just because of how rare and elusive this animal is to find sometimes. What also makes this sighting extra special, is the fact that we managed to see a youngster with its mom and even managed to get a pretty great pic of them in the road.
As you can see from the picture above, it’s a honey badger and a baby! We found this amazing creature on our way home one night. As soon as my tracker spotted the mom badger she took off running towards some thick scrub. It was at that point we realized she had a youngster with her that basically froze once mom decided to run. It didn’t take mom long to pick up that her baby wasn’t right behind her so she stopped and turned around and called to the baby, who then make its way towards mom slowly. Mom met up with the baby in the road and tried to shield it from us. Once they were together again, they slowly disappeared into some thicker bush. Really, really rare to see a young honey badger. This is my first ever sighting in the 8 years that I have been guiding. Bucket list item ticked!
Another awesome night-time sighting we had was of Shidulu on a kill in a old knobthorn tree about 200m from the camp. We were about to close down for the evening and I had already notified the lodge that I was about five minutes away, when my colleague Roy informed me he had located Shidulu not far from the camp. Shidulu is one of our territorial females that we had not seen in a while. I made my way over to join Roy and as I got a bit closer to Shidulu, I noticed that she was crouching down. Roy, who was in a vehicle on the opposite side to me, told me that she had spotted a hare and that we should switch off our lights so as not to disturb her. Barely 5 minutes later we heard a commotion and cry and knew she had made her kill. As we switched our lights on again, we saw Shidulu with a scrub hare in her mouth. She was climbing up the closest tree with her kill to avoid a hyena that came to investigate the noise. Once she found a comfortable spot in the tree she started feeding.
One morning we decided to head towards the hyena den in the area to see what was around. Lucky for us the den site was pretty active with a few adults, sub-adults and cubs around. We even caught a glimpse of one of the new cubs to this clan – only a few weeks old. Isn’t it too cute!
Interesting lion dynamics
Some interesting lion dynamics have been observed lately. The below picture is of the young male and his sister from the Nkahuma pride basking in the morning light. What’s weird though is that there were only 4 sub-adults here – these two and 2 young females not in frame to the left of this male. The Nkahuma pride consist of 5 adult lionesses and 6 sub-adults (roughly about 2 and a half years old). In this sighting none of the adults were around and 2 sub-adults were also missing. We suspect some other males from the north had caused this segregation, as we could hear the male lions roaring the night prior but it sounded quite far north of us. It must be the Avocas, a coalition of 5 big male lions, 3 in the north now and 2 down south. Three Avocas came from the south through our area towards the north when the Berminghams left to go down south towards Mala Mala a few months ago. I think the Nkahuma pride’s youngsters, who are the siblings of the Berminghams, heard the Avocas maybe coming nearer to their area and split up in fear. We’ll be keeping an eye on developments for sure…
Sibyi and cub doing well
We also caught up with Sibuyi grooming herself one morning as seen below. I can confirm that her female cub is still doing well – I saw her the afternoon before this sighting of her mom the next morning. Sibuyi was actually not far from where she left her cub and we believe she had just come from that area. We have not found her on a kill recently, but the cub looks good and so does mom…
More lion news
Pictured below is a new sub-adult male lion (around about 3 or 3 and a half years old) that has been seen hanging around with the Nkahuma pride. The females from the pride do growl at him if he comes too close, but we have seen signs that all of them have enjoyed a kill as there were plenty of big bellies and bloodied front legs and faces. This does mean that even though a foreign male and probably from Kruger, the Nkahumas do allow him to feed once they have made a kill. Or maybe, because he is a bit bigger and stronger than an adult female and a sub-adult from the Nkahumas, he dominates at a kill. Interesting for sure…
The buffalo has arrived!
We found this herd, around 100 strong, recently approaching a dam in the east. Been a while since we saw a herd of this magnitude around because of the drought… this was great!
Baby buffalos! Looks like these two young buffalo calves are sparing a bit…
Words & images by Ranger Sabastion Wayne
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