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Sightings Stats for our 'Medium' Season, May - July, 2013

cheetah statisticstracking by vehicle

This report records the total number of carnivore sightings in the reserve from 1 May to 31 July 2013. A total of 276 leopard sightings was recorded, which include the majority of resident, territorial leopards present in the reserve. The remaining sightings of the carnivores that are part of the rehabilitation project totalled 213. These included the cheetah, hyaena and wild dogs.



sept 2013 leopard graph

ELECTRA has become the Lady of the Okonjima Reserve and was seen a total of 87 times – the majority of leopard sightings. She used to be a very shy cat, but became more relaxed around vehicles in April when she started mating with Nkosi, who is also very relaxed when in the presence of 'human' company.

MJ comes in second with 85 sightings, of which 37 were with her cub. The cub was born at the end of March and is MJ’s sixth. She showed her cub for the first time on 30 April and then later on 23 May. She has become one of the favourite leopards to track, and lucky guests were fortunate to see the two of them regularly, hanging out at the popular viewpoint we call the 'Zen Garden'.

Next with 70 sightings, was NKOSI. Part of his territory overlaps with Electra’s around the Villa area, which is very accessible.

ISHARA, MJ’s female cub from her previous litter, was seen 25 times. Ishara moves around a lot in the mountains and in thick bush, making it difficult for the guides to track her.

MAFANA has lost his collar yet again, but every now and then the guides bump into him and he was seen four times. He will hopefully be re-collared soon, as he is still one of the most magnificent cats ever seen. He reminds us of the infamous Tyson – the first leopard we rescued.

JANGO, one of our newly collared leopards, was sighted four times. However, he was only collared on 10 June and is still unsure of our presence and the noises that are often associated with a vehicle and excited guests.

BWANA, brother of Ishara, has a faulty collar and was seen only once. He will also be re-collared when possible. This is proof of how difficult it is to find these cats when not collared if you only have between two or three hours per trail. Guests normally only spend between one or three days on Okonjima – which does not allow for many hours of tracking or 'bushtime'. This is the trend in Namibia – a country that has so much to offer, but great distances to travel. Our good roads and safe environment encourage travellers to explore the country on their own – and most travellers cover between 2 000 and 4 000km over a period of two to three weeks on their visits to Namibia. In countries such as Zambia or Tanzania, most visitors stay between four to seven days at each camp.

TJ, last year’s most popular cat because of his unique character was unfortunately killed by another leopard on 19 March. R.I.P. Big Boy. You are missed!


leopard isaskia


leopard ishara


leopard nkosi


leopard mj and cub

MJ and Cub

leopard mafana


leopard electra




sept 2013 cheetah graph

A total of 181 cheetah sightings was recorded during foot-tracking activities. The majority of these (150) were of 'The Siblings' (COCO, SPUD AND BONES). They stick to their territory in the southern part of the reserve close to the lodges, and they were also the only cheetah that could be tracked from May until mid-July. Since their last leader, Hammer, was killed in the northern section of the reserve, they have never returned to that area again.

DIZZY gave birth to three cubs on 16 April and TONGS gave birth to four cubs on 5 May. The guides were not allowed to track them during this period. TONGS was seen five times at the beginning of May before she gave birth. Unfortunately, Tongs and her cubs were killed by a leopard on 4 June. DIZZY was only tracked from mid July and was seen 20 times. She now only has one cub left. One was killed by a leopard and we suspect that the other one was killed by one of 'The Siblings'.

PENTA and her five cubs were released on 4 June, but they stayed mostly in the northern part of the reserve – out of reach and in thick vegetation – and were only seen six times. She has three cubs left. One was killed by a leopard, but we’re not sure what happened to the other one, as no tracks or evidence were found to tell the story.


cheetah tracking  on foot

Cheetah tracking on foot

cheetah tongs

Cheetah Tongs

cheetah siblings

The 'Siblings' Coco Spud and Bones

cheetah siblings

The 'Siblings' Coco Spud and Bones

cheetah dizzy cubs

Dizzy and cubs

cheetah dizzy cub

Dizzy's cub


Hyaena and wild dogs

sept 2013 wilddog graph

The four wild dogs – RICKY, RAINE, REX and RUBY were only seen in the wild seven times, because they were in captivity for most of the period. RAINE, one of the females, broke her leg on 19 May. She was operated on and had a plate put in the broken leg. She had to be kept in a small enclosure in the reserve and was on daily antibiotics. The other three dogs wouldn’t leave her side and stayed outside the enclosure. On 18 June the plate broke, because she moved around too much and she was rushed to Windhoek for another operation. To reduce her movement, we decided to lure her siblings into the enclosure, but the second plate broke on the 30 June. We gave her a last chance seeing that the leg was already 60% healed. After another seven weeks in captivity, her leg has healed and all the dogs were released on 15 August and are doing well.

POOH, the hyaena, was seen 25 times. 0n 11 June he was re-collared, but as he continues to move long distances, it is difficult to find him in a 200 km2 reserve. The collars on our other two spotted hyaenas, Paddington and Rupert, have expired, but they refuse to walk into any box-trap or allow any vet close to dart them for a re-collaring session – we will have to try a new tactic!

RUPERT (age 2013: 24 years) (2008: 70 kilograms) (male)
PADDINGTON (age 2013: 16 years) (2008: 84 kilograms) (male)
POOH (age 2013: 14 years) (2008: 85 kilograms) (male) (weighed in June 2013: 82 kilograms)

History: Rupert was born in Etosha. He was bought by a farmer at a game auction in 1989 as a young pup and then kept in captivity with a female and fathered Paddington and Pooh in different litters. The farmer contacted AfriCat in 2002 as he had too many spotted hyaena in the enclosure and needed to get rid of a few. AfriCat took three and two remained on the farm (the mother and one younger pup), as the farmer didn’t want to give up all of them.

They were kept at AfriCat’s Care Centre from May 2002 to July 2008, but were then released into the then 4 500 ha Nature Reserve in 2008 and have never needed any assistance. They were already hunting after the second day in the wild. The dominance of the hyaena in the 4 500 ha first rehabilitation park, combined with the fact that MJ and TJ were growing up, was the reason the Cheetah Rehabilitation programme temporarily stopped in 2008/9, as we felt that the area was too small and mountainous to house the cheetah, leopard and hyaena populations. In 2011 the 4 500 ha reserve was connected to the rest of the Okonjima land to form the present 20 000 ha conservation wilderness.


hyena pooh

Hyaena - Pooh

hyena pooh

Hyaena - Pooh

hyena pooh

Hyaena - Pooh

hyena pooh

Hyaena - Pooh

wilddog xray

Wild Dog - Raine's xray


Wild Dog

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