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Guide Sightings Report Low Season January - June 2014

spirit maywilddog tracking

okonjima location map aug2014

Leopards

leopard sightings low season 2014

ELECTRA was the most popular leopard during our 'low' season this year which stretches from January until June. With a total of 124 sightings she was regularly spotted on the eastern side of the Okonjima Nature Reserve. She was seen on 21 kills, mainly - orxy, warthog and juvenile kudus. Electra gave birth to 2 cubs in August 2013. Unfortunately, the first-time-mother lost both cubs: The first cub disappeared in the beginning of November 2013 – and cub 2 died in April 2014. The post-mortem results tested positive for rabies. Soon afterwards, she was spotted mating with Nxosi for a couple of weeks. If the mating was successful, Okonjima will be home to new leopard cubs very soon. . . .

More about ELECTRA and her 2 cubs: Electra a first time mother.

MJ was sighted 83 times. Together with her female cub Shanti, who was collared in April this year. She was mostly found in the area around Ombujongwe River and along the Omboroko mountain side located in the south-western region of the Nature Reserve. Shanti is now 17 months old and, for the most part, on her own. During late April she was spotted without her mother for the first time by Okonjima’s head guide. Since then she has been seen regularly by herself, and also been observed reunited with MJ a couple of times.

MJ - Legendary Cat in the Okonjima Nature Reserve: MJ legendary cat in the Okonjima Nature Reserve.

NKOSI, one of our beautiful male leopards, was tracked 70 times by our guides. He roams the area around the Villa, Buffalo Dam and Birding Dam which overlaps with Electra’s territory. He has been seen on 10 kills which primarily consisted of kudus and warthogs. He usually stayed 2 days at each of his kills, before moving on to find the next meal. Nxosi was sighted again with head and body injuries in May, this time not as bad as last year when we needed to dart him in order to treat his wounds. We suspect fights with another big, un-collared male that seems to roam in the same area is the reason why we regularly find Nxosi injured.

ISHARA, one of MJ’s female cubs from a former litter, was sighted 23 times (compared to only 13 times during our busy season last year). She clearly prefers the south and was mainly sighted around Okonjima Dam and Namaqua Post. During January and May we were able to see her on 2 kills which both times involved oryx juveniles. She was also captured twice on two of our motion-detection camera traps, covering the southern part of the reserve.

BWANA, Ishara’s brother, has been seen 9 times only by our guides. He occupies the same area as his sister and was mostly found around Okonjima Dam. Due to a malfunction of his old collar, we re-collared him in June after we successfully caught him in one of our box traps.

MAFANA was only sighted 6 times between January and June. His huge territory and the fact that he was un-collared for more than a year, made it extremely difficult to keep track of him. However, during this year’s annual, AfriCat health-check, luck was on our side and we were able to catch him in one of our large box-traps and finally re-collar him. Much to the delight of the vets and researchers that were eager to lend a hand and take blood samples and muscle biopsies for research. Let’s hope that from now on we will have more amazing sightings of this beautiful leopard – the king of the Okonjima Nature Reserve.

ISASKIA, the shy one, was only sighted once. We know she’s moving around the central part of Okonjima preferring thick and dense bush which makes it extremely difficult to find her.

bwana recollared 24june2014

Bwana recollared.

bwana recollared 24june2014

Bwana recollared.

bwana recollared 24june2014

Bwana recollared.

electra july2014

Electra on a warthog kill.

electra1 july2014

Electra on a warthog kill.

electra3 july2014

Electra.

electra4 july2014

Electra.

mafana teeth july2014

Mafana.

mafana july 2014

Mafana.

isaskia july2014

Isaskia.

isaskia july2014

Isaskia.

isaskia

Isaskia.

isaskia nkosi

Isaskia and Nkosi.

shanti

Shanti.

mj low season

MJ.

 

Cheetahs

cheetah sightings low season 2014THE SIBLINGS were seen 98 times during our low season from January to June. The original trio became a duo and Coco and Bones were on their own after Spud was placed in a recovery enclosure, bordering the park in January this year due to a broken leg. For the most part they roam the southern part of the reserve and have been seen on 13 kills, which included kudu, zebra and wildebeest kills. The trio was reunited after Spud was released in July after 6 months of recovery time. He immediately re-joined his coalition.

DIZZY was sighted 56 times during the low season. Since the beginning of May she was no longer part of the famous duo – mum and cub, who entertained so many delighted guests who followed the Dizzy-Spirit journey regularly on social media reports. SPIRIT who was pretty much deserted by her mother – had to go it alone at the age of 14 months only. Since then Spirit is tracked regularly by our guides and is very popular with our guests. She is relaxed around human company and has been seen re-uniting with her mother on occasion as well as joining the company of Penta very recently. Dizzy was mostly seen in areas around Serenjima and in parts of the western sections of the Reserve. Her diet seems to be very variable since she was found on impala, duiker, kudu, steenbok and warthog kills.

PENTA – the solitary one, was only sighted 32 times. Since March she was leading a solitary life again after her 3 surviving cubs Needle, Pins and their brother were no longer seen with her. Once on her own – she moved far north again and was rarely sighted. In May she gave birth to 4 cubs – unfortunately none of the cubs made it through the first month. We assume that the wild dogs were the culprits, for they were found close to the den that was situated in a very rocky area which made it hard to find tracks and bush-signs as to what happened during that fateful day.

NEEDLE AND PINS, Penta’s cubs, have been seen 47 times on their own since March. The 2-year old cheetahs have mainly been found on the far south-eastern side of the Nature Reserve in areas close to the perimeter fence. After they were collared they were relocated to the western section of the park and their hunts became more frequent, giving us hope that they had taken up some of the skills their mother taught them. They managed to make a few smaller kills such as steenbok, dik dik and a juvenile kudu and are on their way to become independent hunters, but they seem to be slower learners than Spirit, even though they have more power in numbers, they just are not as adventurous.

needle

Needle.

pins

Pins.

needle and pins

Needle and Pins.

needle pins may 2014

Needle and Pins May 2014.

needle filmed german tv

Needle being filmed for German TV.

spirit june 2014

Spirit June 2014.

spirit 5 june 2014-contracepted

Spirit being contracepted.

dizzy spirit feb 2014

Dizzy and Spirit Feb 2014.

dizzy spirit feb2014

Dizzy and Spirit Feb 2014.

spirit dizzy reunite 18 june2014

Dizzy and Spirit reunite June 2014.

dizzy low season 2014

Dizzy.

dizzy low season 2014

Dizzy.

 

Hyena and Wild Dogs

wilddog sightings low season 2014THE WILD DOGS - REX, RAINE and RICKY have been sighted18 times moving all over the reserve in regular intervals, but still preferring the northern section of the Park. Raine’s leg seems to be fully recovered after the horrific break and long recovery and the dogs have been seen on kills regularly. On the 6th of June, Ricky was darted and her old collar replaced which raised difficulties in the past.

 

HYENAS - POOH was sighted 26 times close to North Dam, Eland Dam and Batton Hill. RUPERT'S collar has fallen off and he is spotted at times, but remains a very shy predator and has no interest in waiting around for very long. Monitoring his movements is not easy, but he is in great shape for his old age. PADDINGTON was only seen once, north of Lion Seep.

 

Report by: Jenny Noack, Okonjima Research

 

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