Babies and a Mother's Touch

In the dry winter season all grasses send their nutrients down into their roots.  This allows their leaves to die off and the grass goes into a form of “hibernation” or dormancy.  By the end of the dry season the animals fight for survival because of this inadequate food supply.  This can be seen in the Zebras in particular, as their manes start to droop while they use up the fat supply in their hair follicles. 

But now the summer rains have finally revitalized the lush green grasses of Kapama.  This in turn has started somewhat of a baby boom for us.  As the food supply improves, mothers are able to use the new bounty to produce rich milk for their young.  Some theories even suggest that the Impala antelope can put the birth of their young on hold for weeks while waiting for the rains!  The rains have arrived a little later this year but now we seem to be overrun with bright-eyed, wobbly-legged youngsters of all shapes and sizes.  Some notable new arrivals include Elephants, Buffaloes, Giraffes and Impala antelope. 

Predators do not breed seasonally but even a resident female Leopard has recently delighted us with regular sightings of her two remaining cubs.  These cubs are incredibly relaxed at such a young age due to the care we have taken not to disturb them and this bodes very well for future sightings.

One youngster in particular that we have watched with some interest is a tiny Giraffe born very close to camp.  This little one was unfortunate enough to be attacked by a pride of four lionesses recently.  He sustained a huge gash across his neck before his mother managed to fend the lions off.  For a long time he looked as if he might not survive his injuries and was clearly in a lot of pain and discomfort.  But mothers just seem to have this way of performing miracles.  The female was often seen at his side, licking and attending to his wound.  Animal saliva has phenomenal anti-bacterial properties and because of her care the baby seems to be well on his way to recovery!

Cameron Pearce – Kapama Karula Head Ranger

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