Lebala, Sep 2019

AWoodcock Cat2 Pangolin

There was plenty of predator action at Lebala during September. For example, on just one night drive we found wild dogs finishing up a bushbuck, then came across a female leopard who had just lost her kill to hyenas and finally found Wapoka Pride feasting on an incredible four buffalos at once!

In another great sighting we found a leopard on a carcass but lions came in and stole the kill. Then, a big herd of buffalo appeared and the two male lions succeeded in taking a calf down.

Yet again, we were thrilled to locate a pangolin. Lebala is getting quite a reputation for locating these endangered animals this year. Other smaller mammals encountered included African wild cats, honey badgers, bat eared foxes, slender mongoose and yellow mongoose. A couple of times we were lucky enough to see an otter fishing in a channel.

We saw Wapoka Pride hunting warthogs a number of times, often the warthogs managed to outrun the lions, but sometimes we saw them make the kill, although it constituted little more than a snack for this large pride. One time we found all nineteen lions eyeing up a buffalo which had got stuck in the water as if figuring what to do next. By the following day they were trying to feed on the buffalo, but struggling to manage this because of the water so they were running in and out. At their age the 11 lion cubs were extremely playful and their antics made for some charming photo opportunities, however in a rather grisly sighting they were all playing with the dead body of a serval that they had killed. Another time we saw the pride fighting with a honey badger. At very close proximity the resident male lion, Sebastian, was seen gorging on an elephant that had died of natural causes. A few days later we found the male roaring to locate his coalition partner who had not been seen for a while and eventually we saw the two males together again. Three of the Bonga Pride were found eating a buffalo towards Halfway Pan.

The resident pack of two adult wild dogs with their five puppies were seen playing together as well as chasing and feeding on impala. Guests were fascinated to see the adult dogs feeding their puppies by regurgitating meat for them.

Two male cheetahs were found near to Halfway Pan.

The well-known resident leopard known as Jane, together with her two cubs, was seen feasting on an impala under a sausage tree. This carcass kept the family busy for three days. Another time she was seen hunting impala but the antelope saw her and bolted away. We continued to locate the leopards throughout the month. We also saw a tom leopard up on a leadwood tree where he was feeding on a tsessebe carcass. This male is Jane’s son from a previous litter.

Breeding herds of elephant could be seen crossing the river to access the green grazing on the islands and we also enjoyed watching them mud bathing. Big herds of buffalo were also coming to drink in the riverine areas and nearby guests were also able to enjoy good views of hippo out of the water. General game included impala, warthog, wildebeest, kudu, lechwe, tsessebe, zebra and roan antelope. We also saw plentiful giraffe including bulls fighting by “necking”.

Vultures were seen cleaning up the carcasses from the lion kills. Large flocks of pelicans were in the area and a highlight for some guests was seeing these striking birds flying in formation. Other bird sightings included African skimmers, fish eagles, yellow-billed storks, open-billed storks, secretary birds, white-faced ducks and tawny eagles.

(Note: Accompanying picture is from our Kwando Photo Library which consists of all your great photo submissions over the years, it may not be the most up to date, but we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

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