Wednesday, 13 June 2012

12th June: The Mafikizolo Pride Reunites?

Pic Of The Day.
Morning Drive.

( Herold.)

Lion ( 5 x Males & 3 x Females) / DeLuca – Bush Camp.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Peru – Machimba Rd.

Afternoon Drive.

( Herold & Grant.)

Lion ( 2 x Males & 1 x Female) / DeLuca – Bush Camp.
Elephant ( Breeding Herd) / Motswari – Motswari Airstrip Rd.
Elephant ( Kambaku's) / Argyle – Argyle Dam.

Daily Synopsis.

With both myself and Herold finding Lion tracks simultaneously on Motswari's airstrip he began to follow up while I went back to the lodge to collect reinforcements. Shadrack, Tiyani, Patrick and Marka took over the tracking from Herold while he set off in search of Elephant. The combined experience of the guys made light work of tracking and they were not very far from locating the Lions when our neighbouring landowner informed us that he had in fact located them. He had picked them up by their audio as they seemed to be very unsettled with one another, it became apparent very quickly why. They had just finished off killing a Buffalo but now instead of the six newcomers that we have had in the area there were now eight Lions, five males and three females, to add to the confusion. One of these outsiders was not accepted at the breakfast table but strangely enough the other was. Over time the outcast slowly edged closer and closer and secured himself a spot where he managed to join in the feast. This indicates that there must be some bond between them and that they are not complete strangers. Joining on drive this afternoon I'm looking forward to getting a close up look at our newbies and try make heads or tails of who they are.

So excited to head out on afternoon drive we had to hold ourselves back from heading straight to the Lions as we knew they would be out for the count and with the many Mopane Trees in the area it would not make for a good sighting. We thought it better to wait a while until it cooled off so either they would return to feeding or would at least move out into a clearing to catch the late afternoon sun. Patrick and I were quite fortunate as our guests have been at two lodges before us and had seen a great deal so the pressure was off and we could take in whatever presented itself. Having two young boys we also would have to adapt our drive as we did not want to be out to late after dark, with this in mind we did not leave it to long till we visited the Lions. It was as we suspected though and still being gorged from their morning feed we only found three of the eight that were there in the morning and although they had moved out into the open, they were flat cat, still trying to digest their big protein meal. None-the-less it was a nice sighting as our guests had not seen a Lion kill and they were more intrigued by the Buffalo carcass than the Lions themselves. With a great deal of meat still left on the carcass they should be there for the next day at least and it will be interesting to see how the sighting develops.

Having enough gore and guts we moved on and found ourselves a nice breeding herd of Elephant West of Motswari. They were very chilled and went about there feeding and mock fighting without paying us the slightest bit of interest. Another sighting that our guests appreciated as they had seen a fair few Elephant but they had not sat in amongst the herd as they went about their business. Spending the rest of our afternoon with them we finally slipped away to enjoy a sundowner before loosing the golden glow of a winters afternoon light.

Herold visited the Lions briefly before heading on South hoping to get lucky with a Leopard, unfortunately they were not playing along this afternoon and apparently everything does not always go his way. No doubt tomorrow he will find what he is looking for.

On one last note having now seen the pride a lot closer and a few more members I'm going to put my neck out there and say that it is the Mafikizolo Pride reunited. Originally when they arrived in our area there were said to be twelve members. I have only ever seen eight but there were constant reports of ten and eleven. We know for certain that one member has passed away and the rest disappeared leaving us with two males and one younger female who we have seen on a regular basis over the past couple months. Of recent these three have been joined, first by another female and then later yet another female, taking their total to five. We then had the appearance of a further six of which was two of these new females that had been seen recently with the original three Mafikizolo's. Finding them all together now feeding on the Buffalo kill leads me to believe that the pride has reunited. Who knows where the rest of the pride had got to but it appears wherever they where they must have had contact with vehicles as they have now returned very relaxed with our game vehicles and it is only two females that are still a little wary of them but not to the extent they used to be. So hopefully this goes a little way to unraveling the mystery and we shall see what happens over the upcoming weeks.

1 comment:

  1. I just have to say that is just about the funniest picture of an ellie that I have ever seen! The one with ears out, eyes wide and trunk down. That is one for the books! Love the lions but the ellie has my vote. Thanks, it made my night.