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 Post subject: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:19 am 
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I know the cheetah is not elusive in the same way a leopard is, but according to the Wikipedia page on KNP there are 10 times as many leopards as cheetahs. I am guessing leopards are more evenly distributed throughout the park whereas Cheetahs are more prevalent in the Satara area and south? On an average trip covering most of the park, do people find leopard or cheetah sightings the rarest?

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:38 am 
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That is a really interesting question! We have seen cheetah twice, (once between Orpen and Tamboti and once not far from Phalaborwa gate) but NO leopards.
Thinking back over visits to other parks with varying vegetation and landscapes there doesn't really seem to be a pattern when we have covered all bases so to speak. However, I would hazard a guess that cheetah sightings are actually more uncommon than leopard and surely that is due to the factors you mentioned - less of them and more restricted in habitat?

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:56 am 
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I believe the statistics. I've found cheetah to be the more elusive.

I've literally seen leopard on every single trip I've made to the KNP (and several times two or three times per trip - I'm actually more likely to dip on lion than on leopard! :shock: ; I can remember three trips where we did not see a single lion);

Cheetah I've seen only twice (on the Orpen-Satara and Lower Sabie-Crocodile Bridge roads respectively) and both times because they were literally walking right next to the road. Both times it was coalitions consisting of two males -- I'd love to see a female with babies! (or just a female :D )


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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:42 am 
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I would say that Cheetahs are not seen as often but they usually offer a better sighting. :cam:

Leopards don't like attention and is very rarely seen walking next to the road without being bothered by the string of cars behind them.....

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:31 am 
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I've actually seen more cheetah north of Babalala than I have in the south (6 vs 5). We had 4 100m from Punda Maria camp eating breakfast and two just north of Babalala, near the entrance to the Northern Trails 4x4 route.

The southern ones have been more distributed, 2 near Mlondozi, one on the Salitje Road, one near Satara and one near P'kop.

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:40 am 
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We have been extraordinarily lucky with cheetah sightings - 6 sightings in our last 5 trips and all right next to the road, 2 when we were the only car. In that same period we only saw leopard in the last trip (and 4 different sightings!).

Across all trips (15) I would estimate equal cheetah and leopard sightings.

But any spotted cat will do :D


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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:18 pm 
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Based upon the three times I have been to Kruger, I think the Cheetah more elusive.

April 2010: 1 Leopard (on the final nightdrive after a 2 week search), 3 cheetahs
Oktober 2010: 6 Leopards, 2 cheetahs
July 2011: 8 Leopards, 2 cheetahs

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:23 pm 
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I've seen cheetah only twice in the Kruger.
Seen leopard about 15 times.

It is true. There are a heck of a lot of leopards in Kruger 8) Cheetah have struggled.

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:32 pm 
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Hi everyone. This is something which can be debated because everyone has different luck with different animals. I stay 45 mins from Punda and have visited the north of Kruger since I was a 3 year old boy. Am 18 now. Over the years I have had lots of Lion sightings. I have Lion sightings in 9/10 trips. I have also had Leopard and Cheetah sightings.

There is 1 particular Leopard I keep seeing around the Babalala area and I saw him a number of times now but he is car shy and runs staright into the bush the moment he sees any cars. There is a group of Cheetah that I have seen just north of Babalala in 2009 and than had another Cheetah sighting of 4 brothers in the last strech of the Mphongolo loop going to Shingwedzi from Babalala in late 2011.

I have been to the South once in which I have had no Predator sighting at all and have been to Satara once. During my trip to Satara in July 2011 I have had 2 Leopard sightings in one day, and my only trip to Mopani also resulted in a Leopard sighting at the t junction of going into Mopani camp.

I would agree with there being more Leopards in the park, and my reason would be is that Leopards are up in the tree during the day resting whereelse a Cheetah normally hunts during the day and is on the ground which should make Cheetahs more easier to spot. Due to the fact that Cheetah are just as difficult to spot as Leopards which is why am saying there are more Leopards than Cheetahs.

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:00 pm 
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Graham_5000 wrote:
Thanks for your replies this is all very interesting!

@Floris - you seem to have abundant sighting luck in winter!

Do people tend to spot Leopards and Cheetahs from their own car, or on a game drive?


I must say that we stayed for at least two weeks each visit, so plenty of time. But in winter the bush isn't that thick, so spotting should be less difficult isn't it?

Our first Leopard (S100 :twisted: ) was on a drive when the guide told us we wouldn't have chance to see a Leopard because the place was crowded by Lions (we saw over 20 Lions that day on the S100). The most Leopards we saw, weren't up in the trees, but walking or down in the grass (strangely enough sometimes Impalas were in the trees at that moment :lol: ). About 50 - 50 spotted from own car / game drives.

All cheetahs we saw was in the heat of the sun, never in a drive, all of them we didn't spot by ourselves (others saw a tail or ears in the grass) so we could wait hours for them to stand up to replace themselves in the shade.

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:20 pm 
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Bush Baptist wrote:
In the last 11 years I have seen all my Kruger leopards, and sightings are becoming more common, maybe because I became a birder.

I don't think that is the reason :wink:
The leopard sightings are becoming more common in the south :shock: But most of my sightings of leopard have been on the ground in plain sight!

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:52 pm 
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I have seen Cheetahs in private game reserves but I swear that is only because the rangers knew the specific area those specific Cheetahs liked to lounge! Never seen Leopard in the wild and never been to Kruger - one (hopefully both!) of these things will be rectified in August...

My wife likes Cheetahs ever since our sighting in Karongwe on honeymoon last year, so we will scour the plains around Satara in August. I want to spot Black Rhino and Aardwolf but know I probably won't have luck with those two. A leopard would be amazing though!

I should have added the 120 wild dogs to the title. As they stay in packs it must be even harder to find (albeit easier to spot) them as you could be in KNP I guess, but be 100kms from a wild dog!

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:05 pm 
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Where are you staying in August Graham?
Although Satara is perfect habitat for cheetah, they are seen most regularly, near Lower Sabie :D Although I havn't seen them there! There are plenty photos as evidence!

In terms of satara and cheetah ...
There are two cheetah brothers that are currently hanging out the H1-3 near the Sweni turn off South of Satara! Of coarse it is likely to change before August :? But just keep in contact with me and closer to the time we can see where around satara the cheetah are being seen :D I keep an eye on the Kruger TR's and the blackberry updates with a hawk eye to see where people are seeing cheetah!!

I had a single cheetah on the s100 east of satara, and the Sweni Bros when I was at Satata in December :D But that is the only Kruger trip where I have seen cheetah :shock:

At the moment there are two separate families of cheetah being spotted South of Skukuza! On the S113 and S22.
Another regularly spotted cheetah is in the open grasslands near Afsaal, North of Malalane!

All this will be different by August ... but I always keep track of Cheetah sightings 8)

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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:05 pm 
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Graham_5000 wrote:
Iwhereas Cheetahs are more prevalent in the Satara area and souths are more evenly distributed throughout the park ?
Cheetah are widely distributed, but not evenly. I've seen them from the Crocodile River in the south to the Luvuvhu in the north, and all sorts of places in between.

Graham_5000 wrote:
On an average trip covering most of the park, do people find leopard or cheetah sightings the rarest
Leopards about three times a week on average, cheetah far less often. There are simply far fewer of them in Kruger, which does not offer optimal habitat. The large open areas such as the Shingwedzi flats would be suitable, if it weren't for a lack of prey species. There are no gazelles in Kruger, and impalas prefer mixed habitat. Steenbokkies can feed only so many cheetahs!

Dabchick wrote:
I'd love to see a female with babies!
I’ve seen one with six cubs, but for the life of me I can’t recall exactly where. In the south, that’s for sure, it may have been somewhere near Mantimahle.

kallis1786 wrote:
my reason would be is that Leopards are up in the tree during the day resting whereelse a Cheetah normally hunts during the day and is on the ground which should make Cheetahs more easier to spot.
I disagree. Cheetahs will generally hunt early morning and late afternoon, and rest during the day. Leopards may rest in trees at any time of day or night, but they also can and do rest on the ground. In conservation areas, leopards are certainly not nocturnal, they are active during the day as well. They may even hunt by day, for example when it is very hot a hungry leopard may take advantage of the fact that prey animals are dozing in the shade and less alert than they should be. By predator standards, leopards are pretty bright and they will make the most any situation and take all opportunities that present themselves. I’ve long since lost count of the number of active leopards I’ve seen in daylight, quite a few of those on bloedig warm summer afternoons.

saraf wrote:
just north of Babalala, near the entrance to the Northern Trails 4x4 route.
The southern entrance to the Northern Plains Adventure Trail, if that's what you mean, is nowhere hear Babalala. It is between Hidro and Magamba.
Johan


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 Post subject: Re: 200 cheetahs, 2000 leopards
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:50 pm 
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johanrebel wrote:
SAF wrote:
I receive BB updates every morning with the sightings currently in the park and here are the cheetah sightings for the last week
These sighting are presumably reported by the general public, in which case there will be strong bias towards the southern half of the park, where there are far more visitors than in the north.

I last saw cheetah in January, four males drinking at the Boyela trough.

Johan


I just gave a briefing on what sightings I have received via BB and what I have personally seen.

Maybe you can give us some information of sightings in the north where I have not been.

I did not say there are no cheetah sightings in the north, for all I know there could be more cheetahs in the North than the south :)

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