17 August 2017 : Another day in the Life of a Game Ranger. God’s creation in the wild.

17 August 2017

 

Having heard that a cheetah had been walking around on Java last night whilst I was watching a leopard, I decided to head straight south to go and see if we could have some luck on the spotted cat front. It was a warmer morning, so heading straight south wasn't cold – we had a fair morning with general game in the form of kudu, impala, zebras, baboons, wildebeest and loads of giraffes. But sadly, there was no such joy on the cheetah-front. Difference was tracking a rhino that went straight south towards our border, so I settled on going to see the grand old lady leopard of the south, Nthombi, and spent time following her as she walked around looking for a meal. We headed back to the lodge for breakfast. In the north, Machaton male and the Leadwood female leopards were found close to a tree housing an impala kill, and all eleven adult wild dogs were resting in the Nhlaralumi on our northern boundary, ways away from the den and the nine pups!

In the afternoon, I headed down towards the wild dogs, and had a very pleasant drive – we started with impala, kudu, waterbuck and giraffe before a small herd of elephants, and then a larger herd of elephants with giraffe and kudu at Mbali Dam. Hippos followed these sightings before we arrived to find the wild dog pups out and about, but sadly, because the adults weren't present we didn't spend as long as we wanted to – the pups came chasing after us as we drove off, so we had to stop and reverse to draw them back to the den, where luckily they remained as we snuck off! We headed to the north to where the Machaton male leopard was lying close to his kill – the interesting thing was, that it wasnt Machaton, but Ntima male leopard! He wasn't liking the hyenas milling around and after a little charge at them, he climbed the tree and sat there watching the Leadwood female leopard on the opposite bank of the riverbed. We went and viewed her and had a lovely view before she snuck across the riverbed towards Ntima's side, but when the hyenas arrived, she disappeared. Godfrey also found another young female leopard in the area, but she wasn't totally relaxed with the vehicles. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, Angie had much better luck than I had this morning and found the large male cheetah feeding on a freshly killed impala! She was on her way to see Mondzweni male leopard feeding on a scrub hare when the cheetah happily popped into view – sadly it was already close to sunset, so we didn't make the trip to see him, and held our thumbs that he would be in the area in the morning...will have to wait and see!

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