Monday, April 4, 2011

My the cubs are growing!

Hi everyone!

What a great treat to see Karula on the first and it not being a April fool's!

Karula and cub on the first April.

We had a been watching a collared female elephant and her young son, who was just over a year old on the junction of Zoe's road and Phillamon's Cutline. She spent some time with us and then meandered off over Gowrie Main, so we turned around and headed North to check Impala plains and road to for any leopard tracks. Little did I know it was us who was being tracked by leopard!

After 30-45 minutes of leaving the area, WE had a radio call to announce Karula was at the same junction we had just been at with the elephant! She was heading West in to the bush and calling the cubs. As we started to make our way over there, we had another call saying she was with the cubs on Mala Mala main (triple M) heading North! Everyone in the area was excited to see her so responded, with us being a distance away we were the last in line, but this is not necessarily a bad thing! Once everyone has had a view of her it gives us chance to spend a bit of time with her! So we made our way along Vuyatela access out on to triple M where signal is intermittent. WE waited for our turn, which came very soon after we found signal to fill everyone in on the situation.

As we arrived at the crest of the hill, WE were able to look down towards Karula and the cubs and we could see a private vehicle was also in the sighting. With it being the main road to the gate, it can happen. So instead of putting pressure on her by being a fourth vehicle, we stayed back on the crest of the hill and waited for our lady to chose where she wanted to go. Thankful she continued on her Northern route and walked right passed us! What a fantastic moment! (But still no luck on confirming the sexes!)

Taken on the 22 March
Once the family had passed us, I wanted to make sure the private vehicle didn't get too close to her. The other game viewer had continued on at this stage, so we followed at a distance enjoying watching the antics of the cubs, pouncing on each other, chasing after the dwarf mongoose who were alarming at their presence.  The cubs are looking great, well fed and full of life! They took their time, which told me she was fine with us being there.

They stopped briefly to drink from a pool in one of the dips before continuing on their late afternoon stroll. The other game viewer had left by this stage and there was a large enough gap on the right of the road to be able to over take Karula once again without getting close to her, so we took the opportunity and sat waiting for her. 

Seen on the 22 March
The signal dropped just as she approached so I was unable to move at this point. As they were walking passed, the darker cub noticed something moving behind us and ventured over to investigate, while Karula patiently stood watching, allowing it to expand it's knowledge of life! It was such a heart warming moment to see she was relaxed with her cub approaching so closely to us! Incrediable!

The cub ran down the side of the vehicle back to mum, missing the scrub hare who had been sitting a couple of meters away to our right. I wonder if this is what caught the cub's attention in the first place, it was a very lucky not to have caught Karula's eye that is for sure!

Just as we regained signal she had turned off the road and headed West, possibly to a kill she had made earlier. I have now learnt she has been spending time on parallel road, safari and red dam. Areas which are not too far from MMM road. I think this has always been part of her territory and the more I learn about that area, the more I am convinced she is utilising good hunting opportunities. 

Taken on the 22 March
She was seen briefly around Impala plains the following morning, but from there, she has become discrete again! When she is ready to show the cubs again she will!

Thanks for all the pictures sent in from the previous sighting of her and the cubs, please feel free to continue  sending in any pictures of the cubs and the date they were seen for future Blogs!

Written by Tara

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