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Nxai Pan February 2013

Cullivan_Cat2_elephantwateringhole NXAI 

The zebras are still grazing around Nxai Pan, in their hundreds, with their young growing fast. Light rains early in the month will help encourage new growth of grass, and coax the animals to stay a little longer, before they move off to greener pastures.

Unlike the zebra, giraffes don’t migrate and stay in the park throughout the year. There was a lovely sighting of 17 adults and 10 young congregating together, and feeding on the leaves of the shrubs.

A shy, large male leopard was briefly seen on the Western Road – he quickly moved off as the car approached. Lions were seen several times, with two unknown males moving away quickly when the car approached, and another much more relaxed male with a female who were mating. The lioness made an attempt at hunting afterwards, but she was unsuccessful. The male looked on, exhausted!

Although there are plenty of places to drink at the moment, with the heavy rain that fell in January still collecting in larger pans, there is nothing elephants enjoy more than a good deep drink, with plenty of space for everyone to drink at once… Hence, the waterhole in front of camp is still popular with elephants, including a herd of 12 adults with a youngster that water levels were sufficient for a bath, as well as a drink!

Another day, it was thirsty work for everyone, as the two male cheetahs arrived at the camp waterhole to drink, whilst a group of elephants were also drinking. The bull elephant’s, in spite of never being in danger from a cheetah, decided that they did not want anyone else to drink at the same time, so began trumpeting and chasing the cheetahs around, in a bizarre twist to the ‘cat and mouse’ game.

A few days later, it was a female cheetah that had to suffer the same fate as a bull elephant took a dislike to sharing ‘his’ waterhole with such an animal! Two sub-adult cheetahs however, had more luck with their hunting skills, and managed to bring down an impala in a cloud of dust after some concentrated stalking.