Kudu Kill!!!!

One of our lionesses managed to kill a young kudu cow last night and was found sharing the kill with her three cubs this morning. The cubs fed for a short while then moved away from the kill to suckle from their mother….

 

Westley Lombard

Senior Ranger

Kapama Main Lodge

Milkweed and Monarch's

One afternoon setting out on game drive a guest asked me about a tall plant with small balloon like fruit beside the road, it turned out to be a Milkweed (Asclepias fructicosa) a highly toxic plant-however the Monarch Butterfly amongst others utilise this plant for a unique defensive role, the butterfly lays it’s eggs on the milkweed and the larvae feeds on it, once hatched they retain the toxicity into adulthood, hence the bright warning colours.

Other butterflies like some of the diadem species mimic the colour of the Monarch butterfly. Other insects like the elegant grasshopper can also utilise this plant and will exude a noxious foam when they are harassed-Suffice to say that an inexperienced young predator like a young baboon will only make the mistake once of trying to eat these insects!

Sebastiaan Janse van Vuuren

Senior Ranger

Kapama Main Lodge

Specialized hunters or Scavengers

Just to clear a few things up about the feeding habits of the Jackal and the misinterpretation that they are inefficient hunters.

In my guiding experience I have seen Jackal conduct highly well planned attacks on warthog piglets with the mother present, just a few days ago I was on a game drive, and as the drive was coming to an end I bumped into a Jackal on the move, as he foraged through the grass he became highly curious with a tuft of grass. All of a sudden a snake moved out and the Jackal pursued it and started making very precise bites, nipping at the tail end of the snake knowing how dangerous the bite can be. This is just proof that even though it was all about chance he stumbled across the snake he was still highly specialized in making the kill, in avoiding the bite and eventually came off with a full belly and unharmed.

With the impala lambing season on full foot forward it would not surprise me if these little artists of attack take full advantage of their predatory ability to pick up weakness and once again make the kill.

By Jonathan

When giraffe get thirsty

Have you ever seen a giraffe drinking? Well if you haven’t, it is a very awkward position the animal gets itself into. This is caused by the neck muscles that are connected to the dorsal spines of the thoratic vertebrae, which prevent the easy lowering of the head. After drinking for a short while giraffes will suddenly flick their heads back, as if startled by something. The “Wondernet” or rete mirabele is a network of blood vessels at the base of the brain, and serves as a mechanism to prevent too great a back flow of blood. When bending down this mechanism reduces the pressure of the blood at the base of the brain to about 120/80 compared with the normal 260/160.

Dean Robinson

Senior Ranger

Kapama Main Lodge

Woodland Kingfishers

A pair of Woodland Kingfishers are nesting on Western Link, north of Renosterkop. I saw them this morning whilst on morning safari. They are nesting a hole which has been made by a woodpecker. The Woodland Kingfisher is an inter- african migrant and heads up to places like Angola during the cold South African winter, returning again the next summer season to once again breed.

 

Freedom Mabunda

Ranger

Kapama Main Lodge