Pom Pom

Pom Pom Camp, July 2022

While we try and report on all facets of wildlife, big and small, sometimes centre stage must be given to our most famous species.

The African wild dogs of Pom Pom

Firstly, the endearing African wild dogs. Their den this year initially yielded eight puppies, but this fell to six in later sightings. This month we only saw four at the hole, which may mean that the robust predator populations around Pom Pom have taken their toll… 

Despite this crueller side of Mother Nature, we have been treated to some fantastic sightings of the wild dogs. A highlight occurred in the second Hippo Pool area, where a male impala was found drinking at the water’s edge and suddenly raised his head with a snort. Guides checked around to gauge what had alarmed him, and the Pom Pom pack burst from a nearby bush. The impala bolted but was too late as the pack speedily subdued him. Wild dogs are often labelled cruel hunters because they attack on-masse and effectively eat the prey alive. From a human perspective (where emotion often gets the better of us), it may seem cruel. However, for an exhausted and in-shock prey, death can often come quickly and likely numbed by adrenaline. Cats, in comparison, can take some time on their prey before killing it.

Unbeatable Spotted hyena clashes

The local Spotted hyena clan went from strength to strength. On more than one occasion, we saw over 18 members of various ages, and they proved the power of family (and numbers). One day, we found the clan near a water crossing when a large male lion appeared. The lion and the hyenas regarded each other before the big male lion rightly resolved that the hyenas were stronger and he retreated under the watchful gaze of the clan. The hyena force was further demonstrated a couple of days later. A large male leopard burst from cover on our early morning game drive. The appreciative gasps from the car at such a beautiful animal shifted to outright excitement as five hyenas emerged in hot pursuit.

Fortunately for the leopard, it flashed past before choosing a tree and disappearing upward in a streak of black and gold. As much as a fully grown male leopard might fancy his chances against a single hyena, the well-organised social structure (not to mention the incredible vocalisations) of a hyena clan will match almost any predator other than a considerable lion pride.

Speaking of which, there were consistently good lion sightings. The most interesting ongoing dynamic is the emergence of some nomadic males that entered and exited the territory of the Pom Pom pride.

Regular leopard sightings

We saw four leopards regularly: two males plus a mother leopardess and her daughter. The males roamed together on more than one occasion, so it appears they have an agreement (and hierarchy) in place. We have also seen them separately with kills in trees (where else?) and sunning themselves, waiting for the camera lenses to click.

Herds of elephants and buffalo passed through regularly, and their numbers have been supplemented by other popular sightings, including Hippos, Giraffes, Plains zebras, Blue wildebeest, Kudus, and Common reedbuck. With the flood reaching its height, we’ve enjoyed all these sightings in various ways, including game drives, boating, mokoros and walking activities.

While focusing on the more famous wildlife is easy, special mention must be given to the sightings of Caracal, Aardwolf, Tsessebe and Roan. The elusive Sitatunga was also seen, which is always an extraordinary sighting. This great swimmer and partially aquatic antelope is a must for the dedicated Delta lover. Being relatively rare and so well associated with water, Pom Pom is a prominent place to catch sight of them.

(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. Still, we felt it was worthy of a feature alongside this month’s Sightings Report!)

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