Shenton Safaris Big Cat Roundup
4 August – Thursday
Our Big Cat Roundup for this week starts with Andrew and his guests finding 11 of the Hollywoods resting on the plain with full bellies (after a hard night out?) close to Zebra Loop. Sylvester and his guests found the whole pride (13) a bit later. It is presumed that they killed a Buffalo on the road to the northern crossing. A bit later this morning Andrew and his guests found 2 of the Numbu Boys close to one of the Mwamba ladies, near Gideon Loop. It is possible that `Mohawk’ and the Lioness were mating, under the watchful eyes of a `spare wheel’. they were resting under a Gardenia (Gardenia volkensii) and looked a bit tired . . ..
In the afternoon Sylvester and his guests came across Malaika on Eagle Plain shortcut, stalking Impala. When the Impalas and Puku spotted her, she quickly ran into some thick bush near the road. When the vehicle approached, they heard her calling to cubs and they heard the cubs answer from within the thick bush. Malaika has a new litter! They waited to see if she would move them, but then realised that she might still be very shy with them and decided to move on.
Shy Girl, the Leopardess, was found close to Guineafowl Plains by Andrew and his guests; on closer investigation we found she had hoisted an Impala carcass into a Tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica), but she quickly moved out of the area after some pressure from some scavenging Hyenas.
That evening Sylvester and his guests found Shy-Girl back up the Tamarind tree, but with her male cub this time – he is approximately 1 year old.
5 August – Friday
Sylvester and his guests found the leopardess Chiphadzuwa relaxing up a tree this morning by Fish Eagle Lagoon. Later on 13 members of the Hollywood Pride were found sleeping under a Tamarind tree (Tamarindus indica) with full bellies, a clear sign of a successful hunt the night before.
That evening an unknown Leopardess was seen running across Fish Eagle Lagoon and darting off into the bushes. Later into the night Chiphadzuwa was seen again hunting Guineafowl within a tree towards the top end of Fish Eagle Lagoon.
6 August – Saturday
Chiphadzuwa was found first this morning by Sylvester, she was using a gully to hunt Puku and Impala but after being rather unsuccessful, she climbed into a tree to take a nap over looking the Fish Eagle Lagoon
Andrew managed to locate the Mwamba/Kapanda pride in the evening by Brent’s Lagoon. The pride total was 15, comprising of 8 females and 7 cubs, 2 of which were male. They were on the move heading towards Ndau Lagoon.
The Hollywood Pride were also found in the area around Debs Tree, all 13 members.
7 August – Sunday
After some Lion vocalisations were heard, we managed to track down the older of the 3 Numbu Boys sniffing around the exact area the where the Hollywood Pride had been found the night before. He was scent marking the area intensely, this is a brave move as he was very deep in the Hollywood males territory.
8 August – Monday
This morning on Acacia Drive, Sandy and his guests spotted Malaika and her daughter Chiphadzuwa fighting again. It seems that Malaika fears for the safety of her new cubs.
Andrew and his guests had an incredible sighting of an unknown male Leopard who had the remains of a warthog carcass. He was by the New Luwi Crossing atop a tree when a clever Hyena almost outsmarted him, watch the sighting here “Hyaena, The Arboreal Scavenger”
Patrick and his guests located Malaika in Acacia Ebony Grove hunting Baboons which she tried to ambush under a Gardenia(Gardenia volkensii) – she missed! Chiphadzuwa was seen by Sandy and his guests on Acacia Drive extension hunting antelope, but she quickly took cover when some Baboons appeared; it is possible that she feared that they would alert her intended prey. Malaika was later seen hunting Puku, unsuccessfully on Lion Plain after dark. Later that night they came across Tangua and Nyuma, the Hollywood/Nsefu boys on the prowl at Fish Eagle Lagoon.
And Sandy and his guests spotted an unknown Leopard at Fish Eagle Lagoon, possibly Luambe.
9 August – Tuesday
Chiphadzuwa was seen by Patrick and Sandy and their guests sleeping and posing on a termite mound close to Fish Eagle Lagoon. Once she had finished posing for both vehicles, she crept off the mound, then stalked and killed a guineafowl in thick brush.
10 August – Wednesday
Patrick and his guests found the Mwamba/Kaingo pride numbering 6 adult females and 2 yearling males sleeping along the R40 road. in a short while they stood up, stretched and walked further inland.
Later on this morning, Patrick again, found 4 members of the Hollywood pride at the confluence of the Chunkhanga stream. The 2 adult females and 2 sub-adult males were doing the `lion thing’, sleeping close to Waterbuck Dambo Lagoon.
In the afternoon, Patrick and his guests found a male Leopard in the Mchenja Ebony Grove walking alongside the river, then heading inland. Further south close to the Luwi River, they found 9 Lions of the Luwi pride crossing the dry river bed as they hunted Impalas. The pride is made up of 7 adult females and 2 cubs under one year of age.
What a day for Patrick and his guests: 21 Lions, a new male leopard and they saw an early morning confrontation between 6 Painted Dogs and 2 Hyaenas, fighting over 2 Pukus that the Dogs had killed!