Photo of the Day
|Wild Dogs Return!|
7 x wild dogs – Vielmetter, Piva Rd
1 x leopard (Argyle Jnr Female) – Argyle, Buffalo Pan Access
12 x lions (Machaton Pride: 3 x lionesses and 9 x cubs) – Kings, Cheetah Plains
Tuesday found another blanket of clouds covering the sky and a few drops of rain fell from above, but it was probably one of the less gloomy days we have had of late; but I guess any drive that starts off with wild dogs being radioed in before 7am is going to be a good one!
The southern stations let us know that a pack of wild dogs had been found on Argyle Rd at Double Highway and they were heading north, but then turned back south to Kings Camp. As is always the case with wild dogs, it caused a lot of excitement amongst the guides and almost all of them set off straight south. Not being in any mood to race around, I decided to rather bide my time in the north and help follow up on audio that was heard for a leopard near Buffalo Pan. Heading to the area was a bit quiet, with only a few scattered impalas and some monkeys about, and driving around saw things remain quiet; no sign of the leopard, and only a few kudu to add to the list. As I was deciding to leave the area and go follow up on some zebras that had been seen nearby, we had a stroke of luck when Petros spotted a leopard sleeping on a termite mound. I immediately recognised it as Argyle Jnr; a leopard I haven’t seen around for a couple of months!
She lay there for a while, but as I drove closer she got up and started walking through the bush scent-marking before she went to lie down in a clump of trees that didn’t make it easy to see her. After about 7 or 8 minutes she heard some impalas alarm calling to the south and jumped up and started moving in that direction. We followed her for a while, but the bush she was walking in was very thick, and we eventually lost her.
|Argyle Jnr disappearing into the bush|
Satisfied that I had got what I needed from the north, I turned my attention to the south, and headed down towards the wild dogs after all of the other stations had rushed through the sighting. Johannes informed me that they had now also crossed onto our property and I joined him as they headed along the road to Sweetwater Pan.
|Pack of wild dogs|
They eventually went static and slept on the road for a while, but it was not long before they got up and carried on east, eventually finding a herd of giraffes that they showed some interest in (optimistically!), but then a herd of impalas caught their attention and they darted off after them without success. They eventually ended up at Sweetwater Pan, but didn’t stay long, and after about spending about an hour with them, I left them as they trotted off to the north-west. I really hope that they will be here for a while now!
|Johannes and his Sharalumi guests with the wild dogs|
I was not on drive in the afternoon, and Herald was out alone. He went down south to see the twelve lions of the Machaton Pride that had moved relatively far north to Cheetah Plains. The waiters and Jon, our night watchman, also saw a leopard walking around camp just after dark, but they all seemed pretty sure that it wasn’t Kuhanya female; they said it was a male – but from the tracks I saw, it didn’t look like Argyle Male, so perhaps it was Vyeboom male, but I wouldn’t think that he was bold enough to come into camp!
I will be on drive again tomorrow afternoon, so will update you all again then.