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Volunteer and Intern Abroad since 1997
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Big Cats Galore

By 5 years ago
Categories Limpopo and KZN

The last couple of weeks have been really exciting as we welcomed a new group of volunteers. They have experienced lots of amazing sightings in their first 10 days. Drives have been filled with lions (Panthera leo) on kills, cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) on kills and even had the pleasure of seeing leopards (Panthera pardus) on a kill. And this was all just in the one drive!

 A female (Panthera pardus) leopard (we have affectionately and unofficially named “Treacle” was found with her two sub-adult male cubs on a fully grown kudu kill. Within two days a stranger pitched up, who turned out to be our well known “Tsavo”. (Read more about him here: more about Tsavo )

 While everyone thought he’d chased off the other three and taken ownership of the Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), all four were seen together in the following days.  So for a total of 4 days, we were able to see the leopards in the area of the kill and spend some time observing them relaxing in the spruit. It was fascinating to watch how each individual had its own personality and how varied their levels of habituation affected their behaviour around the vehicles.
There have also been a lot of “firsts” for people, staff included. There was the occasional aardvark (Orycteropus afer) sighting at night, a brief glimpse of a brown hyena (Parahyaena brunnea) and an African Wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica) sighted as well. Some special birds have also been sighted around camp at our local waterhole, including a Saddle Billed Stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) and the incredibly elusive White Backed Night Heron (Gorsachius leuconotus). I was especially excited to not only see one aardvark but TWO aardvarks in one night!

Viv  Eckersley, Bushwise Intern, GVI Karongwe