Thought I would fill you in on some of the other great sightings we have had in the last few days as well as Karula and Induna from last night!
Elephants have been a in wonderful abundant this last week and we have all enjoyed their company on most of our drives! But I must admit for me the crash of rhino was really fantastic! Seeing 8 all on 1 drive and observing the interactions between them was really quite something and at times very intense!
WE started the drive on the 24th with relaxed zebra and suddenly seeing the short horned male rhino we followed him to his mud bath on twin dams road. He joined the old dagga boy buffalo who were also enjoying the mud pools, although they did give him space and returned after he departed! It was great to see these old males rolling over like they were young puppies! After watching them with huge delight, WE went to find the rhino again as we only had a brief time with him. While searching I heard the familiar sound of rhino warning of another, so quickly followed the call to find 4/5 from the crash and the blunt horned female with her calf!
For some reason, one of the older bulls was not happy with her presence, but the other 3 were just happy to graze!
It seemed the female had left the small clearing where they were all standing, but for a long while the male was still uneasy and eventually she popped up behind them again, causing him to whorl around with such agility you don't expect from a animal that size. He even put the others on edge again! Eventually the other old bull coaxed him to move on out of the clearing and the younger 2 followed, leaving the blunt horned female to continue grazing.
The old bull who coaxed the other bull to move on!
WE made our way out of the clearing and bumped into the crash again! This time they had found the missing member! I was relieved to see him and had been wondering why he wasn't with them, but as we watched them, the same bull became uneasy again and then I noticed the blunt horned female and her calf just behind the missing male. If that wasn't enough, around the corner from where they were, the short horned male rhino, who's territory it was made an appearance! You could cut the atmosphere between them with a knife!
With a few deep breaths, each party knew the location of the other. As short horn came towards us, he made a show of defecating in his midden and marking territory, making sure everyone knew it was his! As he did this all the rhino stood still and didn't try to challenge him. He must have accepted this as them being insubordinate to him and turned round to meander back the way he came from!
The bull who was uneasy!
(The sides of his lips hangs more than the middle!)
You could almost hear the others breath a sigh of relieve! It was a short while after he left when the rest moved, also heading in the same direction as short horn. I thought all differences had been resolved but as the blunt horned female tried to get past the bull who had not been happy about her being there, he gave weight to his threat. Bellowing at her he then gave chase. The other rhinos blocked the road and being in a confined area, WE couldn't get too close to the action, so waited for them to settle down before WE approached to see where they had all gone.
The crash had not gone too far and they seemed to have calmed down, but there was no sign of the female and calf. I would love to have known what the reason was for the male to be so adamant he didn't want her there, especially when the others didn't seem to have a problem with her! Amazing to see this behaviour, I have never witnessed anything like this amongst rhino before! Keep a look out for the diaries being up loaded very soon!
Before I sign off, here is a short run down on what Karula has been up to! Sebastien is writing a Blog about her and Induna who were seen on yesterdays drive with Patrick, something to look forward to, especially the pictures!
Karula and the cubs on the 22 March
She was seen crossing over Gowrie Main towards our area with the cubs on the night of the 28th. Marc heard about this on his way to rescue the Ganda from the mud the following morning! (Behind the scenes footage of the rescue will be release soon on facebook!) Patrick found a carcass of a warthog in a tree not far from Tree house dam and later found the owner of it who returned to feed as the sunset, it belong to Induna! It was hawk eye spotting by Patrick to see him lying in the grass! Just before he found Induna, Texan had found Karula sitting on her own on Mamba road so Patrick responded and was able to catch up with her as well for a bit. The cubs were not with her at this point, but later Sebastien had the great luck of bumping into her with them on Gowrie Main crossing onto Zoe's road! I am sure she found a nice warm den site to hide them in as there was a huge storm last night and I hope it was a den here on Western Gowrie!
Written by Tara