16 February 2018 : Another day in the Life of a Game Ranger. God’s creation in the wild.

gr leopard sit

16 February 2018
Friday was just one of the great days that make you wish all of them were like this; two packs of wild dogs with pups, two lion prides, two leopards and great general game all around!  We had a mission to get to the hyena den early, and although the little baby wasn’t out, the others were around and gave us a good sighting in the early morning – so good even a male warthog came to see what was going on!  We tried to follow up on tracks for the lions that had been following the buffalo herd in the west, but the tracks for the buffalo were walking in circles and we weren’t having luck with the lion tracks.  

There had been luck though with Johannes finding Tshwukunyana male leopard and we made our way towards him, but we stopped off to see the wild dog den site first, and it was quite active considering it was late in the morning already!  From there we passed lots of giraffe and some zebras on the way towards the leopard who was walking in a difficult area – some nyala and kudu spotted him and after the alarm calls, he disappeared and we couldn’t relocate him; luckily less than 200m away, Mondzweni male leopard was sitting in the middle of the Nhlaralumi riverbed!  Our drive ended off with a herd of 50-odd buffalo and some elephants before we closed down to complete a great morning for my guest on her birthday!  As for the other sightings, a pack of 8 adult and 7 wild dog pups were found feeding on a steenbuck right by our lodge, and the pack even popped up on the dam well before moving east.  The Western Pride of lions (8 adults and 1 cub) were also resting on our northern boundary.
With new guests, my plan was to track down the pack of wild dogs near the lodge before going to see the lions a little further west.  With Difference on the tracks, we bumbled about, but were finding very little until we got a herd of elephants feeding along the banks of the Sohebele riverbed.  Whilst with them, Difference let me know that he had found the dogs, and we shot off to try and get into position, which we eventually did and found the seven pups, probably around 4 months old playing around as the adults rested, but soon the pack got on their feet and moved off to the north; we followed until sunset and left them too it.  

The Western Pride had got mobile, but sadly moved straight north into Ingwelala, so we decided to rather try for Machaton male leopard and his impala kill in the same area, but before we could get there, we found Inkanye female leopard standing in a marula tree checking her surrounds.  She jumped down and wandered off, chasing a scrub hare with no luck before a hyena got too close and she charged it to move it along; satisfied that there was no food to be had, the hyena walked off and so did Inkanye.  We followed for a while before leaving her to it and stopping for a late drink.  The fireflies on the way home were another highlight of the drive that had many highlights!  Yet another great day in the northern Timbavati!

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