Thank You All for all the replies – much appreciated
It is really sad about the lions. Although wildlife is my passion and I was an Honorary Ranger a while back and have done some reading on the subject I am no expert, but for what it is worth, here is my take on the matter. I am a firm believer in Nature taking care of itself and wherever possible no intervention/management is necessary. We are only now finding out that some management decisions taken in the past, although beneficial in the short term were detrimental in the long term. I have also read that there are many vaccines for CDV and if not used correctly the vaccine could infect instead of protect the animal.
Canine Distemper Virus is a serious condition but it did not wipe out the lion population in the Serengeti in 1993/1994, although about a third of the lions did die from the virus. The lions that survived got some immunity and are therefore better able to fight further outbreaks. Only a handful of lions from all that we saw on this trip seem to be affected and then again we are not sure if it is due to CDV. I am also curious as to why the jackals and bat eared foxes are not affected – well we did not see any that appeared ill.
We saw more lions but none of them appeared ill so I believe (hope, pray
) that we have seen the worse of the outbreak and things are under control. We first heard about this in October 2009 and now in January 2010 we can account for about 6 dead lions. We saw 51 lions on this trip. Of these one was dead at Rooibrak, one seemed to be dying at Cheleka and one not looking too well (His Majesty). So IMHO the lions of the KTP are not dying like flies, but I have been wrong before and will be wrong again, but I hope not this time.
As we got the braai going, two spotted hyena came to the waterhole
Then I was really spooked by a visitor sitting on the other side of the fence and looking like a million dollars.
She just sat there and stared at us. I wondered if people fed her
and she was waiting for scraps.
She did not return for the next 2 nights we were at GK which tells me she was not being fed
What a special sighting
At about 20h30 Sharifa said that there is a big cat between chalet 1 and 2. I shone the torch but could not see anything. I went for a shower and there I was minding my own business and cooling off from the heat when suddenly Sharifa was at the shower door all excited and whispering under her breath leopard…….leopard………leopard……..
The taps were closed in a flash, I grabbed my
and was on the patio (told you the walls are above waist high
but the neighbours in chalet 2 were indoors anyway
). How exciting to see your first KTP leopard about 5 metres away and the only thing between you and the leopard is this wall which would not stop a leopard anyway.
The adrenaline is pumping and at the time you are not scared but afterwards you wonder ………..
I then had this vision of the next morning’s headlines, “Naked man mauled by leopard”
Nah…the leopard was not really interested in us and went about its business. It disappeared pass the chalet and into the darkness.
Neither Sharifa nor I are geared for night time photography but I got this pix
And Sharifa got this one
Wow, what an introduction to Grootkolk. Spotted hyena, AWC and a leopard.
Tomorrow I will tell you more about why Biyamiti and Bateleur are going to get stiff competition from Grootkolk as our favourite camp.