Zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, tsessebes and baboons have all been in abundance in the area close to the Baobab and have all been sighted close together. Drives to the Kubu Pan area have been eventful, with an amazing sighting of 25 hippos squeezed into the rainwater pan! Morning time in the Lebala airstrip has provided rare sightings of three roan antelope. Excitement rose as a black mamba was spotted fighting a yellow mongoose, a rare sighting indeed – we couldn't tell who the ultimate winner was!
Once the rainfall has passed in December it is normal for Elephant herds to disperse throughout the area making it difficult to find them, however this year is an exception with regular sighting around camp. In comparison to last month smaller herds of elephants (in groups of around 30) have been observed approaching from the camps west side and processing to cross the swamps to the front of the camp.
Many are aware of how territorial male leopards can be so it was quite surprising to see a large adult male sharing his territory with a younger male with both relaxing and playing in the same area, perhaps the older male did not feel at threat with the presence of the young leopard. The male was spotted the following day taking refuge in a tree after being chased by a pack of 20 wild dogs.
During December on one of the several sightings of the lioness pride, we watched a hyena monitoring them closely as the four lionesses fed on a kudu. There were further sightings of the 3 male cheetahs during unsuccessful hunts.
On Christmas Eve a leopard was spotted during an unsuccessful hunt. Unfortunately young impalas and tsessebes in the Lebala area, particularly around Kubu Pan became the life source for wild dogs as three kills occurred within a 15km range between Johns Pan and Kubu Pan. The feeding began with a baby tsessebe, followed by a baby wildebeest which was poached from the cheetah brothers and a further three baby impalas as they moved through the bush. The following day brought four baby impalas for the capture of the wild dogs, all of which were caught simultaneously.
Christmas day for the cheetahs provided them with the catch of a male impala, after moving away from the wild dogs, the cheetahs made a quick exit once they had finished feeding as they had been sandwiched between the wild dogs and the lions.
Sightings of a male and female lion occurred at the end of the month at Wild Dog Pan, they were spotted in the same area on two consecutive days in the mating process.
The wild dogs did not miss their opportunity this season with the abundance of young vulnerable game and killed a female impala by Kubu pan, and then a warthog piglet in the afternoon of the 27th of December.
Some amazing interaction occurred during an impala kill on the 28th of December, close to Lebala camp. The dogs proceeded with the hunt and kill of the impala but were interrupted by a hyena which was quickly chased by the wild dogs during this interaction a lioness appeared from the bush and grabbed the remains of the kill before the dogs could return to it!
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