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Ulusaba

The happy & sad endings of the African bush...

Hi fellow bloggers,

April past by in a flash but nonetheless this past month produced some exhilarating experiences.

On one occasion Phillip, one of our rangers and his guests witnessed an phenomenal encounter - an interaction between two lions and a warthog.

This encounter played itself off in the Southern area of our property...

The young Metsi female leopard was walking through her territory when she caught sight of a warthog grazing on some juicy grass unaware of her presence...she immediately went into stalking mode, crouched down with her tummy flat against the ground, assessing her options of which direction to go next. For a few seconds she decided to crawl forward in true leopard crawling style...slowly towards the warthog who was still unaware of her - she got to very close (about 5 meters) using her excellent camouflage and stalking skills to perfection... Then with a bursting forward charge she leaped into the air! The warthog tried to scatter but she was too fast - she grabbed the warthog by the throat and struggled to pin it down. Fighting with the warthog caused a lot of noise and commotion!

What Metsi were unaware of was a lioness from the Xhimungwe pride was watching her closely while she did all the hard work...the lioness quickly came running towards Metsi and the warthog with the intention to steal the prey from her - wild cats will often steal each other's prey regardless of species. Metsi didn't wanted to risk any injuries so she snarled and growled at the lioness as a last attempt to save her hard earned meal but the lioness swept it away from her with loud aggressive grunts and growls. The warthog being a tough challenge was still fighting back and unharmed...

As this was happening one of the dominant Mapogo male lions witnessed the commotion from nearby and as the lioness got the warthog, he ran towards her, stole it from her and aggressively ripped it away and tried himself to kill the warthog. This was quite intriguing because the warthog even pushed the male lion away but then the male lion got the upper hand and swiftly killed the warthog. Meanwhile Metsi made sure she was far away and safe from this whole event. The lioness on the other hand was very upset and angry with the male for stealing her (stolen) prize... To avoid any injuries from the male lion the lioness kept her distance from the male. He ate most of it and eventually she had some to fill her tummy. She is also currently mating with the same male which is her first mating encounter.

To give you some insight, firstly it's very rare to see leopards hunt due to their solitary and elusive existence; secondly to see a lioness stealing prey from another predator is exceptionally rare to see and to top it the male lion stealing the prey from the lioness...exquisite encounters from the African bush...one's death is the other one's bread as they say...

Africa is the place where only the hardest of creatures survive...

This brings me to the unfortunate sad news of the loss of one of our new lion cubs.

The Xhimungwe mother lion lost yet another cub leaving her with only 1 cub left. The remaining cub is a female which gives us hope for the long term survival and continuation of the existence of the pride. If the cub was a male he would grow up and leave the pride when he is old enough which will not add to the numbers of the pride in the long run...

Nevertheless it is still unfortunate to lose yet another valuable member of Africa.

We are not 100% sure how he died but we suspect that he came too close to one of the male lions who wasn't his father and got injured by the male in a little fight. We will never know for sure...

All we can hope for is the the little critter that is still alive will make it to adulthood and the other 3 lionesses in the pride who mated recently will raise their little cubbies successfully!

Day old calf - courtesy of Nicky Liddle
Day old calf - courtesy of Nicky Liddle

On the happy side of life we came across a very cute stubby new born baby white rhino and his mommy in the far northern area of our property. The little calf was a mere 1 day old with no sense of direction and still very wobbly legs.

No horn on his nose either just a little bump. He looked like a warthog on steroids, nonetheless he was very entertaining and we really enjoyed watching him exploring his new world around him. We are sure the mother will look after him and raise him to adulthood. We wish her all the best!

Make sure you check out some amazing videos our guests took recently which I've posted below.

Time has come to say goodbye...

From all the wildlife and Ulusaba family...