The Sabi Sand
(Thamba’s serious look, Screenshot Credit: 30-Minute Fitness, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Thamba has still been gracing us with his presence this week. On Saturday we found him on the prowl- very carefully on the prowl. The young leopard was sniffing the grass and we assumed he was sniffing out potential prey. We then noticed the flehmen grimace. Was Thamba smelling the presence of Hukumuri? He had been seen in the area the day before and it is well assumed that Thamba would not want to cross paths with the steely eyed new male.
(Resting up in Chitwa, Screenshot Credit: Joy, safariLIVE, Djuma)
The beauty of persistently, if even a bit relentlessly, following leopards is that you can catch them doing things leopards aren’t thought to be in the habit of doing. On Tuesday afternoon Thamba, who seemed to have managed to avoid Hukumuri thus far, also seemed to be seeking out a familiar face- that of his father’s. Tingana was looking full and healthy, waterbuck carcass close-by. Thamba, looking less full, tried to cajole Tingana to let him in on the action. Tingana may have been tolerant of Thamba, but he wasn’t exactly generous, snarling at him and taking the waterbuck up into a tree and out of Thamba’s reach. Then, showing the full extent of Tingana’s commitment to the Mexican stand-off, he urinated and defecated from the tree; it was as unusual as it was telling.
The next morning father and son were still in their respective positions. Tingana was still in the branches above while Thamba lingered at the foot of the tree, perhaps hoping to catch a falling bit of carcass.
Everyone who’s been panicking that the Duke of Djuma has abandoned his position in response to the formidable threat that has come in the form of ‘Chicken Medicine’ (otherwise known as Hukumuri), are likely celebrating. On the dam cam we not only saw Tingana, back from spending his week in Chitwa, dragging a freshly killed bushbuck behind the dam wall, but more importantly, he was seen scent marking and sawing. The Duke is back in the the heart of the property, proclaiming to all that he isn’t going to accept exile just yet.
(The elusive Kuchava, Screenshot Credit: Michael Fleetwood, safariLIVE, Chitwa)
While we haven’t gotten to see Thandi and cub for a while, we were spoiled with our first Kuchava sighting of the year. Sadly, the brand new and protective mother kept her cub hidden from view. Thandi’s daughter seems to be very healthy and doing well amidst the territorial chaos. It was also very comforting to know that Tingana, the likely father of the cub, was not too far away, his presence acting as a safeguard for the two month old cub.
(An after dinner grooming session, Screenshot Credit: Gabi Hossain, safariLIVE, Djuma)
Even though we just missed the hunt, it was nevertheless exciting to watch seven members of the Nkuhuma Pride feasting upon a warthog. While it was a brutal affair, it’s good to know that the resident pride is eating well.