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Rangers Report: December 2016

By Grant Murphy on January 19, 2017

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Babies, babies, babies! Yes, another year has come to a close, but for most of our furry and feathery friends, their lives are just beginning…

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The bush is scattered with wobbly little new-borns, and with the bountiful 80mm of rain we have had this month, they have been given a strong start at life. It is hard to even imagine that just a few weeks ago Buffalo were dropping like flies – around every corner you would bump into one slowly wasting away – and now, suddenly the dry land has soaked up all that rain and produced a breathtaking vibrant layer of greenery with water overflowing from every watering hole to each deep elephant track. You wouldn’t believe the array of wild flowers and insects – species that haven’t been seen since before the long drought.

 

We wake up to the calls of all our migrant birds that now sound so unfamiliar after their return from the Northern Hemisphere.┬áRemarkably, last summer a leucistic Red-backed Shrike that frequented a very specific area and an even more specific bush has just arrived back after breeding in Europe and I’ve just seen him on that very same bush. Mind-blowing how these tiny creatures do it.

 

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A new-born Steenbok sits quietly and still underneath a tree that an elephant knocked over.

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A tiny brand new Duiker left in the thickets while Mom forages for food. How the trackers spot these things is beyond me!

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Unfortunately there have to be fatalities… A poor Impala female and baby that died during childbirth.

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The carnivores are also taking advantage with all of these vulnerable calves running around.

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A newly discovered Albino elephant calf providing us with hours of entertainment as it ran around excited about the light drizzle. It is a very rare condition in the African elephant, and as special as it is to witness, these poor creatures struggle in the baking African sun and usually develop blindness and severe skin conditions due to sunburn.

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Unbelievably, this month we also found a young bull elephant with the same condition in a bachelor herd. It was hard to tell if he was struggling with his sight as elephants use so much of their tactile and smell senses, but gives us a feeling of hope with regards to the little calf and his future.

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This coalition they call the “Sumatran males” having a little drink after a night of buffalo indulgence.

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Marula up in a Marula suddenly spotting a herd of impalas.

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Rockfig Junior finishing off the remains of a Steenbok.

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There was a feast to celebrate Christmas and the champagne lubricated the flow into New Years Eve with celebrations in the middle of the bush scattered with lanterns and laughs.

And on New Years Eve, the Giraffe pride (with the white lioness) killed a buffalo and 3 new fluffy additions to the pride were discovered. To be continued…

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Thank you to each and every one of you for reading. Have a fantastic year ahead full of love and laughter.

Vicky

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