Battle of the Super-Predators (and Rhinos to the Rescue!)

Yesterday morning my guests and I witnessed an incredible sighting. We heard audio of our large male Lion and went to investigate. As we got visual of the male and our largest Lioness we noticed a large male Leopard up a tree. Lions and Leopard do NOT get along. Lions will kill Leopard and Leopard cubs and Leopard will kill Lion cubs.

The two Lions were under the tree harassing and roaring at the Leopard. About three minutes later a Crash of three Rhino wandered into our sighting, a male and two female, and started chasing the Lions away. The Leopard jumped down out of the tree and tried to jump into another tree but missed. As the Leopard missed the Lioness grabbed the Leopard by the rump and the Rhino came and chased the Lion off again.

The Leopard ran off, perused by the Lions the whole while. He climbed another tree trying to escape but only reached a small branch where he was very uncomfortable. The Lions started roaring again and the Leopard jumped down and there was nowhere to run, being caught between both Lions. The male Lion caught the Leopard but the Leopard fought back. Then again the Rhinos chased the Lions and the Leopard managed to escape and run off into the bush!

 

An incredible, once in a lifetime sighting at Kapama that my guests and I will never forget! (Thank you Sebastian for the FANTASTIC photos to add to our story!)

(Above: My VERY happy and excited guests.)

By: Michael Mabuye – River Lodge Ranger

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Predators vs Prey

The relationship between predator and prey is a very complicated one. The rangers at Kapama Main Lodge were extremely fortunate to witness some of this behaviour yesterday.

Firstly yesterday was not good to be an impala, since we found a young female leopard that had killed a male impala around the Mamba dam area. She was quite skittish at first but as the day wore on and darkness fell she became more relaxed and many of our guests watched as she devoured the carcass.

We were also privileged to see our pride of lions on an impala kill yesterday morning. Unfortunately for the lionesses the dominant male lion ate most of the kill only allowing the three young cubs to feed alongside him. But this is where it gets interesting. Not far from where the lions were feeding; the buffalo herd were having a drink of water at a nearby dam. The wind direction was just perfect and they picked up the scent of the lions. Luckily for the cubs the lioness saw the buffalo approaching and called to them so that they would have enough time to escape. The male lion however was too busy gorging himself on the Impala kill. Finally, at the last moment, he turned around and saw the buffalo who were by now at very close quarters. He just had enough time to grab what remained of the Impala carcass and run for his life, disappearing behind one of the dam walls with the angry buffalo in hot pursuit.

The score at the end of the day was Predators 2 Prey 1.

Dean Robinson
Senior Ranger

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Civet!

img_2967Last night was great, as we drove around one of the corners-there he was, a Civet. The best time to see these animals is usually early mornings or late afternoons. Ocassionally they have been spotted during the day at waterholes. You may find them on their own or in pairs.

They have a huge range of food from insects to the largest prey- a scrub hare or guinea fowl. They have  regular latrine sites known as civetries. One of their most favoured food sources are millipeeds.

Story by: Richard Brune-Kapama River Lodge Ranger

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A job well done!!

dsc_0012We started our game drive this afternoon on a very successful note by finding a beautiful female Rhino with the cutest little calf and the herd of African buffalo that we originally set out to see.

So I decided to take a drive past a wildebeest that had been killed a couple days back by the lions. The reason why we did this is that the lions had left almost half of the kill before moving off. So we got there only to discover that the vultures and jackals had decided to pull in and have a snack before sunset, so we left the area to go and enjoy a spectacular sunset with a drink to go with it all.

After the drinks break we headed past the kill one more time and luck was definitely on our side as we not only found our solitary lioness with her young cubs heading towards the kill for a bit of dinner but also the big male lion on a mission to patrol his territory further done the road.

Story by : Calvin Du Plessis- Kapama River Lodge Ranger

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Elephants!!!!

I am asked quite often if and how we interfere with the welfare and lives of the animals we view on game drive. The simplest answer is no, we let nature to nature, but that is not always the case. Recently our large bull elephant got into somewhat of a tussle with a wandering neighbor bull. Subsequently his right tusk was broken. Now, elephants “in the wild” also fight, also break their tusks, and when nature is left to nature they may survive from such an injury or they may die a rather gruesome death from infection. Because our animals are in our wild, they are a part of our family, and are an investment of Kapama Private Game Reserve, when some thing like this occurs we step in.

Instead of letting this particular bull get a rather nasty infection in and around the broken shaft of his former tusk, and thus going crazy from pain and infection, we brought in a vet. We darted him and smoothed out the ragged edges so that infection would not occur. I was lucky enough to be a part of the darting along with two other rangers from River Lodge, two rangers from Main Lodge, Oom Paul from Camp Jabulani, and other Kapama personnel. We tracked and found him easily enough. The vet darted him using a mixture that is the equivalent of a dosage of morphine able to kill humans. He wandered for about 100 meters and then passed out. We checked his vitals. Supplied a stick to keep his trunk passage open, and made sure to poor generous amounts of water over his body, particularly his ears, so he stayed as cool and calm as possible.

The whole operation took about three hours. After which he was given an antidote to the sedative and as we sat silently watching, he rolled to his feet, looked around, and slowly meandered off. (One is want to muse if the bull was thinking, “what a strange dream I just had….”) Three nights later my guests and I watched him nonchalantly eating and walking, going about his normal elephant business, safe and healthy. It is not every day that we as rangers get to assist in such a fun, fantastic adventure and learning experience; it definately re-news your love of the bush!

Story by: Noelle Di Lorenzo- Kapama River Lodge Ranger

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Aardvark

Rarely seen during the day the aardvark is one of Africa’s most bizarre and specialized animals, and I was so lucky to see one for a second time on Kapama!!!

I was ecstatic…my guests too…after I told them what a rare mammal this is and i’m sure they couldn’t miss the excitement in my voice when I told them the facts of this

Magnificent creature!

It resembles a pig in colour, spare bristle type hair, its long tubular snout and ears.

Heavy tail, muscular legs and well developed claws made for digging.

Main food source termites

An interesting fact is that the aardvark is one animal that appears to have benefited from the overstocking of farms with domestic stock. The trampling of the grass by the stock, makes the grass more available to termites on which aardvark feeds!

So, after this excellent sighting I drove home knowing that my guests are happy and once again I have seen one of nature’s great jewels!

By Jessica Dunne

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