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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:24 pm 
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When we visited the ostrich farms we were told that the ostrich's best sense was it's eyesight, it can see for miles. Therefore if you hold a piece of thorn bush it will stay away in order to prevent damaging it's eyes.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 7:36 am 
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Best thing to do when the big bird charge you is to hit the floor and lay dead still.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:49 am 
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My SO and I had an awful experience on the Kanniedood Dam road about 8 years ago. We were in a Mazda 232 Hatchback and came around a corner to see quite a small leopardess limping across the road, she went into the bush. As we were alone we parked the car and switched off hoping to see some more of her. She emerged about 5 minutes later and sat about 3 metres from us. She was snarling at us and her tail twitching, my SO said "I think shes going to get aggro you'd better back off". Just as he said it she charged, I panicked and forgot to first press the immobiliser so I couldnt start the car, it was all happening so quickly. I just said to him I'm sorry and she was at the window. Fortunately he had managed to wind the window up about 1/3 of the way and the sun was reflecting off it due to the dust coating. This made her lose eye contact with him and she just stood there - right at this half open window, we didnt move we were so frozen with fear. After about a minute (it seemed like forever) she walked around the front of the car, crossed over the road and dissapeared into a hidden donga right there and subsequently hauled out a tiny cub and dissapeared. We then realised off course why she had tried to attack us and felt really bad. We were quite shaken by the incident though and no matter how good the potential photo, I'll never down a window around a leopard or lion again unless they are far, the speed with which she moved was awesome, remember that the next time you decide to take a leak in the long grass.


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 Post subject: Handeling Dangerous Animals
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:16 am 
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After my posting ''Animals in camps safety question'' I did some reading and a little research and come across the following:

Hyena

It is believed that a Hyena will not easily charge/attack a human that is taller and bigger than the Hyena, that is why small children are a better target, They will usually avoid humans by day, but in some rare cases have attacked humans during daylight, The most records is Hyena's attacking sleeping people as mentioned in a few postings as well ...

They are cowardly animals, and one Hyena alone will usually avoid you or run away, if they are a few they become brave. The best thing to do is act very agressive and make alot of noise.

Cheetah

Not much info on the cheetah, it will usuallly avoid humans and run away, it will get more aggresive like any other animal if there are small cups... One important thing is not to turn your back on it... and move away slowly

Leopard

Also as with other animals, more dangerous with cups and when wounded. It is believed that you must never make direct eye contact with a Leopard, this will trigger an attack. Some cases have been reported where Leopard allow people to pass, when no direct contact have been made, it becomes agressive when it have ''been spotted''. Also a loud noise and acting agressive might put of an attack. If you are attack your last hope will be to try and hit it on the nose, but once on a full attack only a bullut will stop it, again move away, rather sideways than backwards and don't turn your back ...

Don't throw anything at a Leopard, this will trigger agression. When you see a Leopard continue walking slowly, don't stop or stare...

Lions

If you approach a lion do it slowly and softly, sudden movement will trigger a possible attack, and running away will get you run down... If a lion attacks you have to stand ground, shout make noises and not move, keeping your eyes on the lion... It will 99 % of the time stop a meter or two away from you, do the same with the second charge.

Rhino's

Rhino's have poor eye sight and depend more on their smell and hearing. White rhino's are usually more peacefull than black rhino's but cases of both attacking have been reported...

A rhino will usually , ''snore'' if it gets irritated, it is a very curios animal and will investigate by galloping closer to you. If it does charge , shouting and throwing things at it will most of the time stop it. If it gives a total full charge it is best to keep something like a tree or big rock between you, or climb in a tree

If there is nothing the last hope is to wait, it will charge with its head up to get a better sight, and at the last moments drop it's head, at that point you throw a bag or something at it, and sidestep out of the way, it can't turn that fast in a full charge. A warning shot will also do it...

The black rhino is much faster in turns that the white rhino, by standing or lying perfectly still it might loose interest in you.

Elephants


Elephants are usually peacfull but get irritated by cars and humans getting to close and may then show signs of aggresion, an elephant have a great memory and might charge a car that reminds them of something long ago. Tuskless elephants and young bulls have a repetation of being agressive. Also females with little ellies around. Never get between a animal and their young ...

With elephants reaching speed of up to 40 km/h you won't outrun it, most of the time there will be a mock charge, if the elephant is however charging, and no noises stops it, you make a run for it, run turning constantly left and right, on open ground in a straight line it will catch you. You can't hide in a tree.

The elephant's eyesight is not good, so once you turn enough and are out of sight it will loose interest.


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 Post subject: Density of animals
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:21 am 
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Not advice required, but information.

I have often wondered why, given the density and richness of bush in Kruger, that you can drive for an hour sometimes and not see any animals. There seems to be an abundance of food to support a larger number of animals.

On my first visit to Etosha 2 years ago (go on then - traitor, but my daughter took a locum job in Swakopmund - feeble excuse), there seemed to be a lot more animals in a smaller, poorer nutrient-looking area.

Anybody know why.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:32 am 
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The bush is just denser then the more open Etosha. I think we pass many animals unknowingly.

Also remember that Kruger roads only cover about 5% of the Park. You are actually lucky if you see anything from the road.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 10:55 pm 
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Often wondered the same thing bb , especially in the past few years , although these years have also been ones of great rains , and high surface water .

Thinking about it though -
A lot of the carrying capacity depends on the amount of water available in dry times .
Etosha and kgalagadi for instance are normally in a drought cycle , so animals will in most months of the year be concentrated along the water , and wont really ever move all over the show , as is the case with knp .
All these parks roads run along or near water sources , so the effects of rain drawing animals into the bush will be more visible and frequent in knp , as there is more rain there , for more months in a year .

I am not sure of the grasses make up in ktp or other parks , but apparently knp has a very low percentage of paletable grasses , a lot of the grass you see is sourveld .

I have seen thousand of animals in a drive at times along water stretches , when it has been very dry years in knp .
Far more animals than you would see at ktp or etosha .
I can remeber 1 trip we did in august in the very bad drought years in the early 90's , when you could easily drive past 5000 each of wildebeest and zebra between lower sabie and tshokawane .
The lions just staked out the water holes , and took whichever animal came to drink 1st .
We saw the muntshe Lions every single day for a week , at the same waterhole .


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 8:02 am 
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What bucky says is all very true and I agree. As WTM says kruger roads cover only 5% of kruger and the fact that there are so many rivers and water catchment areas that have no roads near them means game don't have to come near the roads. If you look at a map of Etosha you will see that there are very few permanent water holes and the ones that there are have roads leading to them, so your chances of seeing lots of game are good.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 9:10 am 
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I can remember a few years back when driving up the H10 towards Tshokwane we also used to always see those huge herds of WB, Zebra etc on the plains and the last few years they seem to have all but disappeared.
So to my mind the dry and wet cycles must definitely play a part as to where the animals are to be found at any given time.

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 Post subject: Quagga in Kruger?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 11:36 am 
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I have just seen the following in the Kruger Park Times Online

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Houdini! The donkey in the Kruger National Park
Quagga alive again in the Kruger? What is it? A scabby zebra or a quagga making a come back? Imagine how surprised we were to come across this donkey in the Mopani restcamp area at the Frasersrus windmill. Yes, a plain pack-donkey, an ass. Braying, he ran after our vehicle, clearly confused. Returning to Olifants camp that evening we phoned the Mooiplaas game ranger, Johann Oelofse. With amusement in his voice he told us that he had heard about the donkey and that it went missing about 30 hours or more ago at another field ranger’s post about 30 to 40km away… Of all things the donkey survived the journey to Mopani amidst all the lions. Viva the donkey!
Greetings, Billy Steenkamp


From the editor: We spoke to Dr Dewald Keet, state veterinarian, who is married to section ranger Karien Keet (formerly Loubser). He says that the donkey had made its way into the Park some time previously, but that the Kruger rangers were unable to find anyone from the nearest communal areas to claim the donkey, as it only had one eye, a cut ear (presumably for marking purposes) and cataracts in the other eye. The donkey remained around the ranger post for some time before wandering off, which is presumably when the Steenkamps spotted it.

When the donkey was relocated, it was acting peculiarly and braying continuously, so Dr Keet feared it may have had rabies. The animal was in severe distress and was put down, but tests showed that it did not have rabies. Dr Keet was unable to say what caused the donkey’s distress, but commented that to reach the ranger post, the donkey also had to travel through quite a large amount on lion and leopard-infested territory. It also never came to any harm during its stay at the ranger post, and so obviously had a charmed existence.


So who knows what you might see when you travel in the park!

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2006 5:11 pm 
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I was in the Army in KNP with the horses at Makatsi (which has now been turned into a picnic site). We used to patrol the area north of Mopani, with a base camp near one of the water holes on the s142. (I have not been on that road since it has been opened to the public, so I think the WH is baanbreeker. We called it Vlooi plesier!) Anyway we stayed in a simple ysterpaal {iron pole} and chicken mesh camp about 20X20 meters for a few weeks at a time. One of the horses "Professor" was very clever and used to open the gate at night. The horses, 5-6 of them would then run back to base camp at Makatzi through the night, arriving at the wee hours. Not once in the 4 times they did this did they ever have more than a thorn scratch.

We lost a horse there to Horse sickness, but because the disease is transmissable to hyeana that eat the meat, we had to bury him.(we wanted to sit in the Samil and watch!) He is buried (very deep) next to the first bridge that goes over the tzenze on the H14 as there was a road crew with a bulldozer there repairing the flood damage of '88.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:23 pm 
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You guys should look in the quizzes section more often lol.

Here's a link for you ;-)

In short, Donkey aint afraid of no predator. ;-)

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 Post subject: Bird Pellets
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 12:16 pm 
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We think it could be Lappet-face vulture??? :?:
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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 10:02 pm 
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Hi linross.

You could be correct.

Firstly, this is not a bird "dropping" (read dung). Droppings are darker, and do not contain the bone fragments nor hair that is visible in this photo (the resolution is a bit low to be able to identify the exact composition). It also typically would have a white cap on the one end, which is the birds urea (they do not urinate).

This is a bird pellet. Birds are not able to chew their food and often swallow it hole or tear pieces which they swallow hole. Objects such as hair, feathers and bone are then regurgitated and do not pass through their whole digestive system.

This is common amongst all raptors (including vultures) but also birds such as heron, shrikes, bee-eaters ...

It is very difficult to determine the exact "owner" of such a dropping, as they are all very similar. When trying to i.d. the bird things such as which birds is in the visinity, the size of the regurgitation and the prey species represented in the pellet, could be of use.

In the study of especially owls (but many other birds also) the droppings are analysed to determine the type of prey they take.

Interestingly some birds intentionally swallow feathers, to line their stomach, and protect it against sharp bones.

The pellet of a lappetfaced vulture could reach aprox. 6 cm. It has been known to even contain the hoofs of small antelope. :wink:

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 Post subject: Tourist Intervention in Nature
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2006 5:16 pm 
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You may have read my post under rare sightings ( page 9 )regarding a tourist who picked up an african wild cat kitten found stranded in the middle of the berg en dal road ( the kitten refused to move off the road- probably out of fear and bewilderment - and would have been run over had the tourist not removed it and taken it to berg en dal camp)

I have witnessed a similar incident regarding an injured steenbok near skukuza

The question is - what should a visitor to a national park do in such circumstances? Should we standby and let nature take its course or should we intervene?

Their are actually two questions -
What should we do?
What would you do?


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