(Tingana on the look-out, Photo: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
While WE were taking a morning bumble we stumbled upon fresh leopard tracks which quickly led us to Djuma’s dominant male- Tingana. The leopard was sawing, his gaze consistently pointing south. The assumption was that he smelled another leopard in the area, potentially another male clandestinely in his domain. What a surprise then when Shadow and her cub, who’s just shy of a year old, walked directly towards Tingana. The cub, one of Tingana’s offspring’s strode right up to him. In spite of the random growl and snarl, it was as sweet a family reunion as WE’ve seen on safariLIVE. After a few minutes relaxing the in shade, the trio parted, only to reconnect briefly a while later. The feel-good morning was concluded with Shadow helping her cub catch a scrub hare and having a post-snack grooming session.
Along with Shadow and Thandi, Tingana has also had a very social week for a leopard. After meeting up with Shadow and her cub, Tingana sought out none other than Kuchava. The female leopard was passing the afternoon in a tree when Tingana cautiously approached. He was smelling her urine along the way, eager to ascertain if she was in eustress. No mating occurred this go around, but Kuchava is certainly in the dominant male’s sights.
(Shadow in the trees, Photo: Jared Jennings, Djuma)
The leopards of Djuma can’t seem to stay away from each other this holiday season. This time it was Shadow and Thandi who were brought together over a hoisted duiker carcass. The sisters (and litter mates) were both without their dependent cubs this morning and both had their eyes on the meal at hand. Shadow was up the tree with the kill, growling and hissing at Thandi, who was on the ground and acting rather submissively. As both mothers would need to return to their respective cubs at some point, Shadow and Thandi were in a bit of a standoff as to who would get to feed and who would leave to feed their little one. The rare meeting didn’t exactly inspire feelings of warm family togetherness, but it was fascinating to watch nevertheless.
(A Christmas cub, Screenshot Credit: Elsa Basler, safariLIVE, Djuma)
After the intense interaction WE witnessed between Thandi and Shadow in the morning, by the afternoon it became clear who won the duiker carcass standoff. Thandi was seen full bellied and with the kill in sight.
With a new impala carcass stashed in the tree, Thandi was munching and well-fed. With light levels dropping, she descended the tree, had a sip at the nearby pan and meandered off into the night, presumably to her newest, and as of yet unknown, den.
When WE found Thandi the next day, she was in the tree with the scraps of her latest impala kill. After it fell onto the ground, she left her elevated perch, picked up the leftover impala head and trotted down the road with it. Unusual for a leopard, Thandi brought the tiny carcass back to her new den site- the trunk from a fallen down tree. The cub eyed her from the safety of the den as she continued to eat it. Later in the afternoon, after a very hot day, Thandi’s little one journeyed outside of the tree trunk and joined her on the limb. Watching the two of them enjoy each other’s company was a true Christmas present.
(A finally full Hosana, Screenshot Credit: That Wild Guy, safariLIVE, Djuma)
After two consecutive days of watching Djuma’s prince fail to catch his prey, (on Wednesday a warthog made a lucky escape and on Thursday he got distracted while stalking a squirrel) WE were relieved to find Hosana with a small impala hoisted in a tree. Whether Hosana just enjoys the hunt and was saving his energy for a more substantial kill, we’ll never know. We do know that the sociable leopard isn’t exactly going hungry and is satisfactorily honing his predatory skills.
(Full and on the move, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Maasai Mara)
The Triangle Boys were spending time with an unidentified pride of lionesses. While they lingered nearby a kill, presumably already having eaten their fill, the lionesses were still on the lookout. They went after a warthog, but failed to catch it. Their second attempt however, was successful and four lionesses feasted on the one carcass. Strangely, it appears as though there were lionesses from two prides present at the kill. That there wasn’t an altercation indicates that they may be from two closely related groups, proving that the dynamics of lion prides can so complex as to bordering on bizarre.
(The precious Angama cubs, Photo Credit: Brent Leo-Smith, Maasai Mara)
This prolific pride managed to take down a sub-adult hippopotamus and a Christmas feast ensued. Male lions from the Triangle Coalition, the lionesses and the cubs all ate until their bellies were full. Even though not one of them looked like they could eat any more of the hippo carcass, the pride stuck by it even when vultures, jackals and hyenas all began to lurk on the periphery.