Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mixo and Induna together!

Mixo Feb 2010
Hi everyone,

What a wonderful surprise to find Mixo by tree house dam yesterday! I just happened to notice a golden streak on the Northern side of the dam as we approached from the Southern side. Not seeing leopard for a short while, I wasn't about to let this one slip away with out seeing who it was at least! WE rapidly climbed onto the dam wall and tried to keep a look out for where our rosetted friend went. Just as we reached the opposite side, I spotted the leopard to our left and Herman shouted, "there's some warthog!" 

My focus on the cat was diverted as I tried to see where they were, so as not to interrupt what I realised could be happening right in front of us, a hunt in progress. As I pulled the vehicle forward to view where Herman was pointing, the sounder of warthog appeared to our right. I stopped immediately, not wanting to influence their direction in anyway. I had noticed the cat, WE later found to be Mixo, sneaking behind the termite mound to our left and so the stage was set!

As quickly as we were comprehending what could happen, there was another flash of gold as Mixo raced in to the center of the family, which then exploded into pandemonium! Warthogs were running in all directions as WE heard an ear piercing cry. He had caught one.

Male warthog seen around camp
On hearing the call an adult female, I can only assume was the mother, stopped dead in her tracks and came charging in to rescue her piglet! With canine teeth around 12cm long and a protective streak, the female warthog was a force to be reckoned with! I doubt Mixo was expecting the assault and dropped the piglet on impact. It couldn't have been badly injured, as it took the opportunity of being released and ran for it's life! Unsatisfied the mother then gave chase, tossing her head under her adversary. All we saw was the Mixo jumping a meter high to avoid her!

Putting the leopard in his place, she turned tail and ran, leaving him to ponder on what had just taken place! What a drama and as much as I hope he eventually found a meal, I was so glad for the piglet to have survived. The bravery of the mother shows how strong the bond between mother and child can be, even in the Warthog world! 

Mixo continued to look around possibly checking if there was any sign of an injured piglet or scent of one still in the area, but it looked like this time his it wasn't his lucky day. WE stayed with him as he followed a game trail. Every so often he sniffed the ground and check the trees. Which made me think he could have been following the scent of another leopard, possibly with a kill. We had heard a leopard calling around Phillamon's dip the night before and he was heading that way! It could be he was already on the trail and just happened to spot the family of warthog and thought it looked like a good hunting opportunity! 

As he approached the pump house in the dip, he took his time in the area, looking like he was trying to find which way the scent had gone, crossing this way and that over the junction with Weaver's nest road. Sadly the rain set in as he decided on Rebecca's road. So we left him to continue his search and made a mad dash back to camp. Look out for the diary!

Induna April 2010 
Hearing the alarm call of the baboons the following morning, they guided Marc to both of Karula's boys sitting on the open area of quarantine! Induna was busy eating a leg of an antelope while Mixo watched! He gave his brother a snarl every so often to remind him that it was his meat! Could it have been Induna who's trail Mixo was following last night? I do wonder! The boys didn't interact directly with each other, no fighting broke out, but where Mixo went, Induna walked parallel with him! Even the presence of floppy ear and 2 of her hyena clan didn't deter them! 

They approached the road leading to our camp and melted into the thick vegetation. I believe they are somewhere at the back of camp by now and I would love to know how long they were together last night and today! With them being nearly 2 and half years of age, they are likely to start seeing each other as competition soon, but it also just goes to show blood is thicker than water. One question I will never have the answer to is, did Mixo and Induna work together to hunt? It is not the normal scenario for leopard, but hey it's nature, anything is possible! Leopard family members have been known to hunt together, it could have been this is what happened! It could have been one of the boys hunted and the other came to get the scraps! Who knows! What ever the situation is, it was brilliant to see the 2 brothers together again!

Blue Wildebeest
Sadly it turns out it was one of the wildebeest calves that was hunted last night. It only became clear this was the case when Marc observed the behaviour of one of the cows later on. As the herd moved towards Phillamon's dip, she kept turning back towards the open area, possible checking to see if the calf was going to return. It was sad to see her reaction and it was certainly a stark reminder of the fine balance that exists in nature. One mother saves her offspring, while another losses hers, so another can continue to live.  

Written by Tara

1 comment:

  1. Tara, what a wonderful narrative! And wonderful pics! I was sad about the wildebeest calf and couldn't watch the mother looking for it... but yes, it is nature, ... still sad though! What a wonderful treat it was to see 'our' boys together! Thanks for all you and the rest of the team do!