Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Karula's family tree - Her son Induna- part one


Hi everyone,

We have nearly met all of Karula's family now and I have up dated the earlier Blogs so I think it is time to show the spot light on Induna! 

Induna, meaning chief, is the son of Karula, born in mid Nov 2008 with litter mate Mixo. The pair were Karula's second litter and she would have been just 4 and half years old. She had been seen mating with Yambilu-Jordaan and through his numerous appearances with the family it is widely accepted he is their father. This will make him and Mixo full brothers to Xivindzi and Xivambalana.


What is remarkable is the fact he is still here, nearly 3 years old and still utilising his mother's territory while she has cubs.  He has even met his younger sister Xivindzi nose to nose and shared a couple of meals with his father! Mean while his independent brother, Mixo, seems to have left us behind and continued his journey into adulthood somewhere else in the sands. The latest report was he has made it to the Southern part of the Sands!


I must admit I a very happy at least Induna has stayed around a bit longer, as I am sure many of you are! It is great to see how he is progressing and the fact we have seen family interactions like this is incredible!

To identify this charismatic boy I usually use the following marks which are very distinctive. Firstly the pattern between his eyes is very distinctive, most people say they see a face, others see something else but it is distinctive what ever you see it as!


Looking on his right side, there is a very neat semi-circle of spots over his eye. This I have noticed, he shares with his dad Yambilu-Jordaan, who also has this spot pattern above his right eye! Induna also has a triangle that points towards the corner of his right eye and lies just at the end of the semi-circle of spots.


On his left side the arrow points to his beauty spot, another triangle but much larger than the one on his right side. Some call it bat wings! You can also see a line from this to the corner of his eye which is almost vertical. His brother Mixo has a "Y" at the corner of his eyes as does his younger brother Xivambalana.




Sadly Induna lost the tip to his tail. We believe it was due to a hyena, possibly even floppy ear when he was younger. Last year the tip became exposed and but thankfully it healed and he seems no worse for wear. In fact if you see his tail now, you would have to look closely to see it is slightly smaller than other leopard tails!


Thank you everyone for sending in pictures of this beautiful boy, I will be going into a bit more of his character in the next Blog!

Also just in case you missed drive, we briefly saw Karula sleeping on the Southern side of quarantine last night as we closed down for drive. She was last seen making her way over Gowrie Dam wall and up towards the rooms at Vuyatela a couple of hours after we left her!

Written by Tara

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Meet Xivindzi and Xivambalana!

10 Sept 2011 Kaula and the cubs
Hi everyone!

Now Karula's boy has a name I thought I would write about these two bundles of joy!

For those who missed the drive yesterday, Karula was enjoying the views from the comfort of the deck at one of the rooms at Vuyatela knowing the occupants were away on drive I am sure! The nearby nyala had caught her eye, but sadly she was too eager and as she made her move, a shape eyed youngster gave the alarm and everyone scattered!

A beautiful painting of Xivindzi
It was only later as the sun had set she re-appeared in front of us at quarantine. As soon as Seb realised she was stalking something he switched off the light. We sat in darkness as she edged closer to her prey, but suddenly what must have been the steenbok, who has taken up residence there, shot off, leaving her empty pawed once more. Her size puzzled me and I wonder if it wasn't one of the cubs, possibly Xivindzi, who was actually hunting! As the spotted feline returned to the road we noticed the rest of the family, they must have been sitting and watching from the shadows!
Karula's daughter Xivindzi Sept 2011
Karula's daughter came to the Ganda and sat with us while she waited for mum and brother to follow. It was incredible to say the least as she walked less than a meter from Sebastien down the side of the vehicle, mean while, Karula was strolling down the other side at the same time! What a royal encounter!

Karula's son Xivambalana, Sept 2011
We followed them for a short way until they reached Zoe's road and evidently she decided to leave the cubs there as they were around Galago shortcut  again this morning! As Marc joined the sighting, a hyena appeared. Surprisingly instead of climbing a tree to be out of reach, both cubs started to move towards it! Luckily there was no food around and being a fair size now, the two 10 month old leopards could fight their corner well. Maybe this is what deterred their nemesis from an unnecessary confrontation with them!

Xivindzi, which means bold, is Karula's daughter and she does seem ready for action. You would pronounce it as Shi-vind-zze.

Xivindzi and how to identify her

The arrow on her forehead highlights how close the WOW is to being complete like her mum! The lines under this are a different angles, if you look below on her brother his are much more uniform underneath each other.

The red arrow points to her eye, if you look closely a single line is there, but on her brother he shares the "Y" with his brother Mixo.

The easiest way I tell them apart at the moment is the marks above the whisker line. Above Xivindzi's she has two dots above each other and a ^ on both sides, her brother Xivambalana has two large spots side by side above his whisker line. 

If you are new to leopard identification it is good to have a couple of things to look for on each animal. We use the face for id the most as that is the part we look at the most! 

Xivambalana and how to identify him
Xivambalana means emerald spotted wood dove, on account of his shy nature. I don't see this as a bad thing, he ers on the side of caution, especially when it comes to confrontation and this might just save his life one day! For me the bird is not bold or flashy, but if you look closely there are hidden gems and I think this sums up this little boy perfectly! You would pronounce his name as Shi-vam-ba-lan-a.

Written by Tara  

Friday, September 9, 2011

Karula's family tree - Her daughter Saseka



Hi everyone!
Lets have a closer look at her daughter, Saseka, which means beautiful. Her official name being Thandi. You will hear us refer to her as this on the radio, as it is the name used by the rest of the guides. The guide who sees the cubs first generally gets to name them, but only after a year. The reason being the mortality rate can be high during this critical time. That is one of the reasons why Karula is so special to us, as she has successfully reared 2 litters to adulthood. Can she do it a third time? WE truly hope so!
She was the first offspring to be born to Karula around mid December 2006, along with her sister Tingana, (official name Shadow). So far they are the only daughters of Karula. The father is thought to be Mafufunyane. At the time of mating, Karula would have been just under 3 years old.

The girls were first seen in February 2007 and looked to be around 8 weeks old. They eventually went their separate ways and it seems Saseka is being found nowadays towards the South East of us, around Cheetah plains. She visits her mother's territory from time to time around twin dams and tree house dam.

It was such a joy to hear this beautiful leopard had 2 cubs of her own, being seen for the first time by a guide on the 18 Jan 2011 at Cheetah Plains. She was seen mating with the stunning male Mvula last year. 

Sadly though she lost one cub for what reason we don't know. After a while on one cub was seen with her, he seems to be doing well. From a sighting the other day he has also met his father, although Mvula was calling possibly locating them and bumped into the Tsalala pride who chased Saseka into a tree and her son followed his father to another tree as the lions gave chase. Luckily he escaped with only moments to spare. According to one guide if he had put a foot wrong he would have been no more.



She seems to be darker in colour compared to her mother and sister. Over her left eye there is a "Y" mark, under the left eye are "eyelash" markings. From the corners of both eyes she looks like she is wearing eye makeup like the ancient Egyptians use to wear, a straight line. She also has a nick in her left ear.


Thank you so much to everyone sending in pictures, it was a difficult choice, but great to have so many wonderful shots of her to choose from and to share with all the WE family! Thanks to Karen and Colleen for the information they have compiled over the years about the leopards and to Lou Ann Wile with help on how to Id her! I hope some day those of us who have never met her will have the chance to do so!

Written by Tara

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Karula's family tree - Her daughter Tingana aka Shadow

Hi everyone!
It's been a while seen we have dipped into Karula's family tree, so I thought we would focus on  her other daughter from her first litter. She is known to us as Tingana, meaning "shy one". Her official name being Shadow, possibly came from her staying in the shadows, being shy!

She was the first offspring to be born to Karula around mid December 2006, along with her sister Saseka (official name Thandi). At the time of mating, Karula would have been just under 3 years old. The father is thought to be Mafufunyane, although not confirmed, due to his interaction with Karula and the cubs when they were young, it looks highly likely!

Tingana snarling at Saseka 
First seen in February 2007 the two girls looked to be around 8 weeks old. Tingana now spends more time in the South West, taking a territory close to her grand mother's, Safari, in Arathusa. If she wonders onto Karula's territory she is seen around Impala plains and Gowrie main area. 

She was seen mating with Yambilu-Jordaan by Arathusa guides and gave birth to her first litter around September last year. It is difficult to say if he is the father as she was also seen mating with Tyson. Sadly cub mortality can be high and both cubs have died. I do not know what the fate of either cub was. With them being so tiny, they are vulnerable to a number of predators from jackal and snakes to hyena and lion. They can also be killed by other male leopards who have not sired the cubs. Females move the cubs around so much to possibly to reduce the chance of a predator or other leopards detecting them.



To id her, the most distinctive feature is the "v"notch in the top of her right ear as seen in the picture above. 
On her chest, she has a "Y" collar, but I always find it difficult to see this on any leopard! 

The picture below showing her forehead, you can see it almost looks like she has a small heart, some say a butterfly, shape which also looks quite distinctive.


The whisker pattern on her left side is also interesting, with 2 spots and a blotch almost forming a triangle with the lower whisker line, as you can see in the picture below.


Thank you again to everyone sending in pictures of this shy beauty! Also thanks to Lou Ann for id information as well as Karen and Colleen for all the information gathered over the years about these stunning creatures, in particular Karula and her extending family! I hope WE get chance to see Tingana sometime when she comes to visit!

Written by Tara

Monday, September 5, 2011

Karula's family tree... in pictures.


Hi everyone!

The picture of Safari, Karula and Matimba was from Fay a little while ago and I was hoping to be able to use it at some stage! It shows Karula's mother and Karula's brother Matimba who was born in Dec 2005! 

We have had 3 people take up the Karula's family tree challenge and with a brilliant outcome too! I hope these help understand how Karula is related to the other leopards we see! Each one adds something interesting to the tree! Click on each one for a closer look!

By Anat
Anat's helps to show the uncertainty of the actual father regarding Tandi and Shadow. It could be either male. I understand there was a mating seen by guides of Mafufunyane with Karula when she was very young which could have resulted in the first litter but there is some uncertainty. The way he has interacted with them does lean towards him being the father. 

By Stacy
Stacy's helps to show who of the family are male and female.



And John's includes the order the litters were born in as well as all the family's birth years. 

Thank you once again to John, Stacy and Anat for putting these brilliant family trees together for everyone to enjoy!

Tara


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Yambilu-Jordaan babysits his cubs!

Karula and male cub 4 Sept 2011
Hi everyone,

What an incredible few days we have had! I can not believe the sightings this week!


First thing this morning, Marc said he heard a leopard calling in the drainage line at the back of camp. I decided to head out early and drive around Galago short cut after confirming with Marc it sounded like the spotted feline was heading in that direction.

Family portrait!  4 Sept 2011
Just as we turned onto Galago Shortcut, Becky shouted, "leopard!"
"Where?" I'm asking her as my excitement was growing. I was looking where she was pointing, but I had no joy, I was too low to see over the grass! "Shall I go forward?" 
"Yeh, it's right there, behind the grass. No there's 2!"
Suddenly Karula strolled out onto the road, followed by one of her cubs, followed by, not the other cub, but a big male! I was frankticly rummaging for the binoculars, although I was fairly convinced it would be the father, as he bent to test Karula's urine! A little bit early for that I think, with the cubs only being 10 months old, Karula is still providing for them and they are still dependent on her but none the less he was checking.

Karula and cubs at rest and play captured by Stacy
Sure enough there was the heart! Marc excitedly exclaimed in my ear. "Oh I've just seen you've got them! Can I go live?"
"Yes, yes, yes, go live!!"
I was shaking with excitement as father was joined by his son, wrapping his tail in affection around his neck just as we went live! At one stage Karula was to our left, the cubs played to our right occasionally being joined by their mother while Yambilu-Jordaan watched and waited patiently!  


Leaving dad behind, the rest of the family enjoyed some boisterous play as they headed to Vuyatela access. A streak of spots leaped into a tree, followed by another, with Karula pouncing up and almost pulling one of her kids from the tree on more than one occassion! What an absolute delight to see our lady seem not to have a care in the world!

Karula jumping into the tree with both cubs in it!
She did look a bit on the lean side and maybe that spurred her to take the play back into the bush and search for food and headed back in the direction of her mate. Just as she met up with him again a duiker sprang from it's hidding place. It took a few moments to register, then Karula was off, bounding after it at speed! Meanwhile Xivindzi started to follow and then realised it probably wasn't the best idea so turned to see her brother following Yambilu-Jordaan and decided to do the same!


Having 3 vehicles in the sighting and knowing Yambilu-Jordaan, I didn't want to stress him out especially if the cubs were in his care, so we went to find out if Karula had been successful. Sadly for her she came back empty handed. Sniffing the ground, maybe to find a scent of a possible meal or her cubs, she wound her way this way and that. Eventually she started to call; low at first and then louder as there came no response.

Little male
She headed in the direction of where the cubs went possibly following their scent trail. Her path was blocked a couple of times as a hyena, who might have heard the calls from earlier, zigzagged its way through the bush in the hope of finding breakfast. Thankfully Karula was experienced enough to lie low and remained undiscovered.

Xivindzi 4 Sept 2011
Once the hyena had passed by, Xivindzi was the first to greet her mother then eventually the male appeared.  Both soon tired of the tree Karula had picked as a vantage point and play commenced on the ground again, stopping only when the hyena returned. Both watched as the loner looked on. Xivindzi must have taken it's hesitance to approach as a sign of uncertainty and began to approach it. To my amazement the adult hyena  ran off! 
Xivindzi watching the hyena!
We made space for another vehicle and was later informed Yambilu returned at some stage and left again as Karula went East towards the drainage line at the back of our camp.

Yambilu-Jordaan feeding 2 Sept 2011
I must admit I still can't believe what WE have witnessed with this family today and recently. Only 2 days ago, 2nd Sept, Yambilu was feeding on a nyala carcass in a tamboti tree, just a meter from his almost 3 year old son, Induna, who was sleeping! WE are still unsure who made the kill as Marc discovered it in the drainage line East of Gowrie Cutline in the Tamboti forest, the previous day with both males present! Aside from the fact we had father and son sharing a meal, WE were also treated to hearing the cackling laughter of hyena, who became very animated every time a piece of food was dropped. As they Chased each other in and out and around the vehicles, I was thinking one might forget we were there and run head long into us as they were so focused on making sure they secured a share in the spoils! Thankfully we were "part of the furniture" and no collisions occurred during the commotion!

Matimba males
After all that it seems a shame not to mention the Matimba male lions who were residing with us for a few days while they fed on a buffalo carcass at Buffleshoek dam. It was first found on the 1st Sept and had probably been killed that night by the 5 big males. While they slept off their huge expanded bellies on Friday, a parade of pachyderms interrupted them and there was no messing about from either side. The lions respectfully gave way to a 40 strong wall of elephants and kept a low profile, while the normally gentle giants skirted around where the kill and lions had been, neither wanting to get too close to the other!


I also enjoyed spending time with our favourite crash of 6 rhino, Marc had a brilliant sighting of elephants yesterday at Gowrie dam and Seb is bonding with the baby hyena at the den, especially the new arrival. A tiny little cub who hasn't even got it's spots yet! 

Thank you to everyone sending in pictures it is greatly appreciated and apologies for some slightly blurred pictures unfortunately it was a little too dark at those points for my camera to work well but thought you might like to see them anyway!  

Written by Tara

Karula's family tree - Her choice of mate - part one

Yambilu-Jordaan
Hi everyone,
I thought we would focus on the handsome, but elusive, male Yambilu-Jordaan. As I started to write this I have realised there is so much to this male to discuss so instead of trying to condense it. I thought he deserved to have a couple of Blogs written about him!

Yambilu-Jordaan was originally known as the Jordaan's male as he would be found around Jordaan's Dam. The Yambilu part is Shangaan for heart due to the distinctive heart shape on his forehead and was added by Pieter Pretorius who was a presenter for Wildarth for a number of years.

Not much is known about this elusive cat. It is thought he was born around 2002, but his parentage is unknown and there is only speculation to his siblings. Some say he is the brother of the Beacon female and he may have sired her cubs Rupert and the female, who we see occasionally in the North, Inkanyeni in 2005. What we do know is he is shy around the vehicles, although he seems to be getting better!

Mafufunyane
How does he fit into Karula's life? He seems to have been the mate of her choice for the last 2 litters. It is thought Mafufunyane could have sired the first litter though. The Lady of Djuma has the possibility of mating with 3 territory holders. Mafufunyane, also thought to be her father, patrols the South, Mvula who patrols in the East and Yambilu-Jordaan. WE have been fortunate to find him in a few different places mainly in the Northern half of our traversing area, from Galago short cut in the West and Gowrie Dam to Bateleur road and Buffelshoek Dam in the East. There can also be nomadic toms that pass through the territories of these males even though we haven't seen any, they could be keeping a low profile!

Yambilu-Jordaan

There are a couple of distinguishing features on this rarely seen male. The most prominent mark is his name sake, the heart shape on his forehead, as you can see in the picture above. You may also notice above both eyes it is very pale and the 2 vertical lines above the eyes, that are present in most Sabi sands leopards, are very pale too. Over the right eye he shares the semi circle of spots with his probable son, Induna.

On the picture below you can see the long vertical black mark next to his left eye and there is also a semi circle of spots above the left eye.

Yambilu-Jordaan

Thanks again to everyone sending in these great pictures of him and to Karen and Collen for collecting the information about this stunning leopard. 

Written by Tara
Written on the 18/03/2011


Here is the link to the second part of the Blog:
http://blog.wildearthsafari.tv/2011/09/karulas-family-tree-her-mate-of-choice.html


Karula's family tree - Her mate of choice, part two.

Yambilu-Jordaan

Hi everyone,

As you saw from the last Blog, Karula's mate of choice is a shy one. With him being so secretive it is difficult to say for sure if he is the father of Mixo and Induna, but judging by his interaction with the boys it is highly likely he is! The fact Karula was seen mating with him on August 1st 2010 (outside my window in camp at 4am) and on the 2nd being caught on camera by WildEarth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEFK8HL9-zA, we can assume he is the father of her third litter. It is hard to tell 100% as there could always be a change in males during the mating period which can last 3-4 days. During this time the male will stay close to the female, but it is possible another territorial or nomadic male can fight for the right to mate with her if he finds the pair. Having said this for this instance it is unlikely!

 Yambilu-Jordaan

Not only were we amazed to be catching a leopard mating on camera but Induna, then nearly 2 years of age, was also in the vicinity. Instead of chasing the young male away, which is what we would expect, Yambilu-Jordaan accepted he was around and even spent time with him in between the matings! 

One such occasion sticks in my mind as it occurred in the first couple of months I arrived at WildEarthSafari early last year. Do you remember the usual sighting of the family sharing a meal together? Karula with the boys, when they were 18 months old, feeding on a carcass and he was close by? The whole family were then disturbed as night fell by floppy ear and her hyena clan. Mixo and Induna fled and only just made it into the tree, while Yambilu-Jordaan took it in his stride and stayed put. Incredible sighting! This wasn't the first time he has been seen with Karula and the boys and lucky for us he is repeating it with his new cubs too! 

 Yambilu-Jordaan

Just in the last few drives we have seen this handsome male tolerating Induna while he fed in a tamboti tree and his son sat sleeping next to him and this morning with his family from that mating in 2010. Yambilu-Jorddan's son followed him as Karula chased a duiker. Xivindzi watched her mother disappear before joining her brother and father, who was left to babysit!

Over the last year I have seen a marked change in his behaviour. He has always been shy, even when he was first viewed on Wildearth in 2007. He would move away as soon as a vehicle approached, my first encounter with him was also very brief. Over the year I wonder if he has learned from Karula and the boys, he doesn't need to worry about the vehicles. When he has been with the family, he has stuck around with a vehicle present and maybe seeing them not react has rubbed off on him? What ever it is, it is working and he even seems to be OK with a second landy or cruiser sometimes nowadays, although a third is still too much for him to handle! 

Yambilu-Jordaan
As long as we continue to respect his space I am sure he will become more calm around the vehicles. He may not ever be as relaxed as Karula and the boys, maybe he had a bad experience when he was younger or is just a naturally cautious leopard, but he is such a handsome male I think WE would all enjoy seeing more of him!

Thanks once again to everyone contributing pictures for the Blog!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Karula's family tree - Her Father, Mafufunyane





Mafufunyane 11 Nov 2010

Hi everyone! I am going to re-post some of the Karula's family tree Blogs for those who missed them! This one is about her possible father Mafufunyane, also spelt Mufufunyane. His facebook page is Mufufunyane male leopard.

He was born in Mala Mala, the game reserve that lies to the South of us. He was born towards the end of 1998 and was called "the angry one" possibly because he would steal kills and be a nuisance to the other leopards in the area! He has settled down quite considerably now though, being the mature age of 13!

Mafufunyane 11 Nov 2010

When we see him it is usually around Gowrie Main, Shabam road and the pans on that junction and sometimes Cheetah cut line. The other males in the area are putting pressure on him but seems to be holding his own, for now!

He is thought to be Karula's father through interactions with her and her mother, Safari, when she was a cub. The mating was never seen so speculation leans towards Mafufunyane as the father as he seems to be Safari's mate of preference too. Even though he is thought to be Karula's father, he could possibly have sired her first set of cubs. These are her daughter's who we know as Tingana and Saseka. The rest of the guides know them as Shadow and Thandi respectively. Again this is speculation as the mating was not seen, but the interaction between her and Mafufunyane suggests he could be. The other possible father of her first set of cubs is Yambilu-Jordaan, who does seem to be Karula's mate of choice. 

The most recent sighting with him and Karula was on the 28th where the cubs met their "grandad". Read more on this link: http://blog.wildearthsafari.tv/2011/07/latest-dramas-in-karula-and-her-familys.html

I find the black marks below his eyes are thicker than on other leopards and he has an extremely thick neck. I do wonder if Karula got her WOW on her forehead from her father? Look closely! He also has a few scratches on his nose, old battle wounds!

Written by Tara, with thanks to Karen and Colleen for providing the information from the databases on Wildearth.ning.com.




Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sunday's last drive for Safari TV

Hi Folks
Well that time is approaching rapidly now. The last Safari Television broadcast will be on Sunday afternoon (31st July 15:30 -17:30 CAT). Sadly there will not be a Sunday evening Fire Side Chat, however we do want to go out with an upbeat last drive and say thank you to all of our loyal viewers. So, if you have any messages, reminders of special drives past or such that you would like to share with us and to be read out on air, then please send them to lastdrive@wildearthsafari.tv. If possible, please send them before 12:00 on Sunday otherwise it may not be feasible to deal with them all. Marc and Tara will take our last drive together and take you to some of their favourite places around Djuma. This last drive will end early and in daylight at 17:30 CAT with all the crew and directors (even dear old jigga) together at the end as we have been throughout. I hope you will all join us for what we hope will be a celebration of the good times we have had together with Safari Television.
As you may know some of the staff have been able to find employment with Djuma Game Reserve which is a great relief, but not all have been so fortunate. I very much hope that the others can all find employment very soon. The world is going through some hard times but this is the best group I have ever worked with so fingers crossed.
Will

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

So glad Karula and the cubs have been out and about!

Karula's daughter 24th July
Hi everyone!

We have had a wonderful few days with Karula and the cubs! I am so happy they have been gracing us with their presence!

20th July, Prince and princess of the castle!
The first time since the 15th July WE caught up with the cubs was on the 20th. Marc found them sitting on top of a termite mound on the firebreak by Buffleshoek cutline and Galago shortcut. The little female continued sitting pretty, with the look of her mother about her while her brother decided to explore the base of the mound. I think there is a pattern forming as to who is the boss. He seems to be more adventurous if either lady in his life is around! The sun sank below the horizon, so we had to say goodbye for the day.

July 20th Karula's little girl.
Evidently Karula hadn't returned to fetch them the following morning. The young male was a little distance from where we had seen them, but still on the firebreak on Buffleshoek cutline. He was bounding after a few scurrying creatures, but didn't have any luck in catching any of them. Eventually he gave up and scaled a termite mound of his own and settled down to sleep. We left him to his dreams and had a drive around trying to locate the lions which had been seen early morning on the Waterhole camera.

Karula waiting for the response of her daughter! 21st July
With no visible signs of the tawny cats WE returned to the cubs to find Karula had joined them on the mound. At first we thought both cubs were there, but it soon became clear Karula was still calling for her wayward daughter. Her son on the other hand was just pleased to see his mum! She was getting quite irritated with him as he was rubbing against her and wrapping his tail around her. Thankfully he took her snarl as a sharp warning and left her to call in peace!

21st July, Karula and son!
We followed Karula's gaze and as the male crossed the road in front of us looking in the same direction, his sister appeared on the northern side of the firebreak! A couple more reassuring calls from mum and she was by her side within moments. Reunited, they headed South, making it a challenge to keep up as they frolicked about. With the help of the Francolins who had been disturbed WE relocated the excited family on Galago short cut for one last glace before they disappeared further down the road. This time the bush was too thick to follow but luckily it wasn't long before we had an update of her whereabouts! 

Styx Male
With a special appearance from Sebastien as our guide on the 22nd, WE heard Karula had caught a duiker south of Twin dams on PM drive. Unfortunately with it being just outside our traversing area WE didn't get to see her, but instead Sebastien was able to spend time with the young male from the Styx pride who was sleeping next to the hyena den on Zoe's road!

Induna out for the count! 23rd July
Although tracks had been found of the lady and the cubs on the 23rd, she only turned up later on PM drive on Vuyatela access road, after her son Induna had stolen the spot light for a while! She disappeared just as WE arrived possibly with a view to hunt the impala close by, so we left her to her business. 

Karula's son and the hippo! 24th July
Going back to Chela pan the following day during AM drive, Marc heard the commotion of Francolins, babblers and squirrels in the drainage line and went to investigate, as a duiker burst out of the bush heading towards us, both myself and Marc caught sight of the little male cub in a tree! So that was what the creatures were complaining about! What was even more interesting was the presence of the injured hippo who looked to be pursuing the 8 month old cub, but not in an aggressive manner! Karula's son on the other hand was not too sure what to make of it all and kept his distance! The hippo's cuts seem to be clean and healing well at least.

Karula's Son, approx 8 months old.
Once again the female was no where to be seen and it was only on the PM drive on the 24th did we find her lounging on a termite mound at the junction of Chela pan road and Weavers nest road. A good distance from where her brother was! Every bit her mother's daughter, she is so independent already I wouldn't be surprised if she leaves Karula earlier than the boys did!

Karula's daughter approx 8 months old. 24th July
Yesterday morning she was relaxing under a weeping bore-bean, taking an interest in a herd of giraffe who strolled by. They were watching her as much as she was watching them! It was the male this time who was keeping a low profile after other guides found him close to Chela Pan again.

She has the look of her mother! 25th July
WE were still searching for a coalition of 6 male lions called the Matimbas, thought to be from the Manyeleti in the North. 5 of this group had been hanging out around Gowrie Dam in the early morning. Having heard their roars in the West at the beginning of drive, WE searched for tracks only to find they were still on the open area by the dam! By the time WE caught up with them they were just disappearing into the bush.

The Alpha male of the Matimba lions.
The big "Induna" or chief of the group has the tip of his tail missing. The rest are golden maned lions and could possibly give the Majingilanes a run for their money, only time will tell what will happen!

Thank you for all the great pictures and collages sent in, they always help to make the Blog and rekindle the memories!

Written by Tara