22-25 September 2016 - Are the Avoca sub-adults and the Mbiri males going to join forces?

Lion - Mbiri pride (2)The Mbiri pride were a little bit scarce over these 4 days, and we only had 2 sightings of them. They were initially found on the morning of the 22nd, to the north of the lodge at Zebra pan. They were looking a bit hungry and were looking for some Warthog to hunt. They moved along the drainage line, checking every Termite mound along the way. Eventually they settled down for the day. On the morning of the 25th, they were found with a Buffalo kill at Wild dog Dam , to the south of the lodge. They had no interactions with the Thanda impi male Lions over this period.

Nharhu pride (2)

The Nahrau pride were also seen twice, but had a slightly more interesting time of it. On the morning of the 24th, they were found with a Buffalo kill on Mveve link, and were having a serious stand off with more than ten Hyena. The 3 big females managed to hold them off, and secured the well needed food for the growing cubs, who are now becoming sub-adults. The next day they were found again on Metsikitsoro plains with the Thanda Impi males.

Talamati pride (1)

We had some big news about this pride, when we discovered one of the younger females with 3 cubs of about 2 months old. That takes the size of the pride to 19 individuals. They have done well under the protection of the Selati males, even though one of the Selati's isn't looking good at all. The one thing we've noticed is that the pride seems to be fractioning a bit, and we haven't seen the whole pride together in a while. New cubs however explains a lot though, especially with the young males around. The females would keep them away from the tiny cubs, because the youngsters could kill the cubs, just by playing with them.

Thanda Impi male Lions (2)

The Thanda Impi male Lions were also a little difficult to find over the 4 days. They were seen for the first time on the evening of the 24th. They were roaring next to the road,but not much more than that. The next morning they joined the Nharhu pride on metsikitsoro plains. The positive thing with the thanda Impi males is that they are very vocal, and we hear them most nights, keeping their 2 prides safe.

Avoca sub-adult males and Mbiri males (1)

On the morning of the 24th, and interesting mention on the radio was 6 young male Lions on Civet. Have the Avoca subs joined up with some other Lions? How would this change our Lion dynamics? What impact would this have on the Thanda impi males? We investigated and found the 3 Mbiri males had joined the Avoca sub-adults with a Buffalo kill on Civet road. They weren't lying together, but were only separated by about 100 meters. Was this the beginning of yet another super coalition in the area? By the next morning they had all moved and we didn't have any answers. Only time will tell!

Leopard (2)

Rhulani male Leopard (1)

We also only had 1 sighting of the prince of the north. He was found patrolling his territory on Madache. This is part of the area that the Beacon male Leopard is making a play at. However Rhulani was looking healthy and well fed, and maybe a smaller territory is a blessing in disguise.

Ntsuntsu male Leopard (1)

The new kid on the block! This male, who is related to Rhulani by the same mother and father, is making a number of appearances in the north of the reserve lately. This time he was found on GPS loop, and moved south in the drainage line on Lomfane. He made us work for it, but rewarded us with a nice sighting. He was hunting Vultures! Vulture chicks to be exact. It was witnessed before that he finds Vulture nests, and takes the chick. This time however, the nest was in a canopy that was too thick for him to get to. Leopards are incredibly adaptable, and this hunting behavior just proves that.

Other views from the bush

The general game viewing was pretty good with several Buffalo and elephant herds over the entire reserve. Some particularly interesting sightings were to be had as well. The interaction between members of the Hyena clan on Civet road was interesting to witness. The Hyenas in the Manyeleti didn't stop there, another clan tried to force the Nharhu pride off their Buffalo kill on Mveve link. A few day later, at another carcass the Civet road clan, came into a small squeamish with another clan at Koppies, that sent the other clan running to the north. The Giraffe in the Manyeleti seem also to be mostly around the northern part of the reserve at the moment. All in all a very entertaining 4 days on safari.

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