Pom Pom

Pom Pom Camp, May 2022

Pom Pom Camp became a maternity ward this May and we’ve had so many delightful little ones to coo at as winter set in. 

African wild dogs have denned not far from camp. The alpha male has been out on the hunt, as have a pack of 10 (unrelated) wild dogs. We followed and witnessed several successful hunts of these persistent predators and it’s fantastic to see the wild dogs prospering with their pups in our area. 

A leap of leopard sightings

We’ve had impressive leopard sightings of our resident cats, but there were some new additions to our pantheon of leopard stories. Two of our resident leopardesses had been living with their sub-adult offspring, but this month proved time for the sub-adults to strike out and make it on their own. Our guides spotted them several times roaming alone in the reserve. This is because one female resident had young cubs, and these little fuzzballs were her sole focus. Generally, a leopardess will raise her cub for approximately two years, and then offspring are pushed out to establish their own territory. This doesn’t necessarily have to be acrimonious, though. Maternal bonds are strong. There are numerous accounts of young leopards visiting their mothers in the following months and years, and we look forward to seeing how these fine cats will forge their way in the world. 

Leopards at Pom Pom Camp

A similar family boom has hit the lions, too, as seven became ten. Until recently, the Pom Pom pride comprised the dominant male, four lionesses, and seven cubs. Imagine our joy when the fourth female (whom we had not seen lately) emerged with three cubs in tow! The pride now numbers fifteen in total, and that’s a lot of hungry little mouths to feed. 

We also kept an eye on the smaller pride that previously split from the prominent lion family. This sub-pride numbers two females, two subadults and one cub. However, there are a couple clouds on the feline horizon. New male lions were seen entering the territory, and we are waiting to see if they make a play for the dominance. Knowing what might happen, the females have regularly moved their cubs to keep them safe and avoid the well-documented infanticide that a new dominant male could visit upon the existing cubs. 

Lion Cubs at Pom Pom Camp

Three separate cheetahs have been spotted this month near to camp. One male and two females have seemed happy to make Pom Pom their home, and one of the females currently has two four-month-old cubs. 

Cheetahs often come up second best in the predatory hierarchy. Other threats include hyenas, and the robust Pom Pom Spotted hyena clan is no exception. They have denned near the airstrip, and we saw them on almost every game drive that passed through the area. 

Bushfires in the Okavango Delta

Bushfires often can cause massive destruction to an ecosystem. However, they also form part of the natural cycle of nature. It clears out low-growing underbrush, scours the ground of debris and opens up the ground vegetation for sunlight. Fires also nourish the soil; some species even depend on the flames to survive and flourish. A bushfire that came through a part of Pom Pom has renewed an area. These new plains have attracted a variety of plains game, but they are always vigilant. These grasslands have become a fertile hunting ground for African wild dogs and cheetahs.  

There have been many other incredible sightings, but let’s sign off with one last wonderfully winged one. Pel’s is one of the largest owl species in the world with a wingspan of approximately 1,5 meters, and we have relished regular sightings of these curious creatures. Although they are primarily nocturnal hunters, we had some amazing daytime viewing. 

Pom Pom Camp Mokoro

The flood arrived in camp, and our mokoros were launched. Mokoros gave a unique insight into traditional life in the Okavango Delta and allowed the chance to slow down on safari. There has been plenty of birdlife along the various river routes and we’ve loved watching Wattled cranes, Saddle-billed storks, Marabou storks, Hamerkops, ibis, Pied kingfishers, egrets, herons, ground hornbills, Egyptian geese, fish eagles and many more.

(Please note: For the safety of the animals, we do not disclose the location of either rhino or pangolin sightings. Accompanying pictures are 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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