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September Ranger’s Report 2016

By Grant Murphy on October 9, 2016

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The land is looking more barren than ever… It has been painful to watch all of the zebra and rhino calves trying to nibble at the short little tufts of brown grass that are scattered around the bare ground.

Although, spring has arrived regardless. The Knobthorns (Acacia Nigrescens), one of our earliest spring bloomers, have been covered in creamy-yellow bottle-brush blossoms. Then came the explosion of bright lemon-yellow flowers covering the Cassias. Closer to the end of the month, the Weeping Boer Beans (Schotia Brachypetala) exploded with deep crimson pom poms.

The sweet aroma delicately tinting the atmosphere reminds us that summer is around the corner…

 

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Love is in the air… Two Rock Monitors mating.

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It has definitely been a carnivore season – this month in particular – with the ungulates being obliged to go to the watering holes to drink and with the openness of the landscape without the enclosing foliage, finding potential prey hasn’t been challenging. The carnivores are also taking advantage while the herbivores are struggling to persevere through the dry season. It has been so easy, in fact, that on numerous occasions we have witnessed fresh kills, barely touched, happily abandoned within a day by all these large carnivores, confident that there will be another opportunity awaiting them later on. The hyenas think its early Christmas!

 

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Nyelethi with a male Bush Duiker.

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The Hercules Pride  joined by an opportunistic male lion with what looks to be TB with a fresh giraffe kill on Keer Keer airstrip, right next to the old bones of another male giraffe.

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In just 9 days we had 9 kills on Kings Camp. And we regularly get to see kills of lions, leopards and wild dogs all in one drive! There have been at least 3 packs of wild dogs in the area lately, all with their little pups, who at about 2.5 months old are starting to get more mobile and even join in on the hunts, although they usually lag behind and let the adults do the chasing. Once the adults have made their kill, they engorge themselves and head back to the little ones where they proceed to regurgitate some of their winnings for the pups, who squeak and squeal out of excitement while gobbling up the bloody mess.

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Some very sad and big news came through that unfortunately one of our special carnivores wasn’t so lucky this month. One of the white lionesses from the Giraffe Pride was severely mauled by at least one of the Trilogy male lions. As soon as she was found, she was rushed to the vet where the doctors fought hard to keep her alive. Unfortunately 2 days later she passed away. We are not sure of all the details, and there may always be unanswered questions pertaining to the reasoning behind her killing, but we know that nature is harsh, even and especially for our king of the jungle.

 

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This month has ended with a bang. The night of September the 30th we had a huge thunderstorm and it bucketed down for most of the night. And just like that, the rivers were ranging and the dried up mud pools and watering holes were more full than they have been all year. We are feeling very hopeful that this is a sign of things to come…

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A well-known cow with a huge hole of unknown origin hanging around the camp. Last seen 5 years ago in the area. Amazing how some animals manage to adapt.

 

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Thank you all for reading and get your raincoats out the closet!

Vicky

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