Lebala Camp, August – September 2020

PNeale.Cat4Wilddog

The most exciting sighting of the period came when two wild dogs came chasing 2 impalas through camp. One got his prey in front of room 6 and the other brought down his quarry just in front of room 9. This spectacular action was so close to the guest tents that the camp manager was able to video it on his cellphone! After strangling the impala, one dog started calling and later was joined by a third dog so in total there was a male and two sub-adults (the survivors from the previous year’s pack of seven). We were curious as to why the alpha female was not with them. The following day the three dogs came and rested in front of camp, but the female was still not with them.

Two male cheetahs were spotted; they looked hungry and were highly mobile. A couple of days later we found a cheetah carcass in the same area, a very upsetting sighting. Looking at the tracks we believed that this was the work of lions.

Lions were seen mating on the eastern side of the airstrip. To our surprise, the male was one of three that earlier in the year were fighting with our dominant males Old Gun and Sebastian. To see this intruder now being bold enough to mate one of the younger Wapuka lionesses raised our eyebrows. The next day, all three new males were calling and marking territory along the marsh to the south of camp. We wondered whether they had taken over the territory since they were already mating the resident pride. However, a few days later, Old Gun and Sebastian were back in their territory and judging by the loud roaring they were ready to drive off the challengers again.

A different coalition of two male lions was seen on the east side of the camp. On closer inspection we noticed that one of the males was one that had recently had a collar removed by wildlife officials, across at Lagoon camp. Then yet another mating pair were found resting in the shade; these animals were skittish and the guides thought that they may have crossed from Namibia.

Five lionesses with 1 sub adult were spotted south of the camp. They just came from drinking water by the river; as we followed them, they stalked two warthogs and made successful kills. These lions were originally part of the Bonga Pride, but were part of the the offshoot that became known as the Holy Pride once the big Bonga family split.

Guides were delighted to find the tom leopard known as Fisherman. He had not been seen since before the April lockdown. We watched as he climbed down and tried his luck on a warthog, but he failed that day.

A breeding herd of twenty elephants and five tiny little calves were seen in front of the camp heading to the channel to drink. Buffalo were seen resting in the marsh near camp, close to the hide. Fresh shoots in front of camp provided grazing for wildebeest.

The inland pans were shrinking, meaning that storks were feasting on the frogs and other creatures that were resident.

(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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