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 Post subject: wanderw-KTP Whooping Reflections!Dec/Jan 2011
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:20 pm 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
I have to make a start on my TR, because every time I sit down in front of the computer, I hear a hyena whoop! And no, I’m not the only one who hears this noise, my SO bought a new backup hard drive and it actually ‘whoops’ every few minutes and brings back great memories of our trip, so I could never forget about doing a TR! So here goes....

As they say...You can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family!
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Our recent trip over the December/January holidays was DIFFERENT, to say the least. Yes, the weather was different to what we expected, but KTP also revealed a lot more different parts of itself to us. Although we did not experience ‘in action’ cat kills this time, we were privileged to see many interesting interactions, family and inter-specie as well. I hope you enjoy this peek into our special moments in the park.

Eagle Eyes' pic - Nossob riverbed, near Geinab
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Our Itinerary!
27th and 28th December - Mata Mata
29th and 30th - Urikaruus
31st - Nossob
1st, 2nd and 3rd - Grootkolk
4th and 5th - Nossob
6th and 7th - Twee Rivieren

Forumites seen!
During our stay in the park we met up with the Kgalagadi Guru (Jannie) and the following forumites:
The Barrydalers
Caracal
NeilT
Partimartin
Scouter
Craig(sorry, I did not catch your forum name in our brief exchange)
Great to see some familiar faces, and to put some names to new ones! We also passed Tintin near Nossob, but could not track her down to chat. And we also shared a special sighting with Fotomaljohan and his family, although at the time, we did not know it.

Weather!
Our first day in the park - 42degree C! 2nd day - 45degree C! It was HOT. I must admit that the 2nd day was really uncomfortable for this KTP addict, and I started having doubts about whether I had been sane when I booked this holiday for my family.(My SO markw, my daughter Eagle Eyes and my son Wezl) ! Early morning of the 28th of December (3am) saw Eagle Eyes and myself out on the verandah of our Mata Mata chalet, in our PJs, catching the ‘oh so welcome’ breeze, and giggling about all the night sounds. At the end of the second day, Wezl was in a real bad mood ( :hmz: perhaps I was not the only one feeling uncomfortable because of the heat), the main reason being that he had just realised that his old Ipod charger did not charge his new Ipod. Disaster! A teenager without his music for another 10 days! Eish! How were we going to survive this KTP trip? That evening, after putting up with oppressing clouds over our chalet (literally and figuratively), we were saved! :dance: Eagle Eyes offered to share her Ipod with her brother and the rain started to fall, the first of many thunderstorms experienced over the next 6 days! In the following days, the temperatures experienced were in the mid 30s, except for Grootkolk, where the temperature was 20 degrees one morning, and in the late 20s the rest of the time. A first - coming across fellow travellers at Ljiersdraai, with jerseys on in January!

Roads!
On the Auob side - terrible! The corrugations were the pits! On the Nossob side - the roads were a dream in comparison. (We saw the shiny blue tractor and tires go out regularly from Nossob :thumbs_up: )We had a very brave neighbour at Nossob - he had brought along his 7and a half
month pregnant wife and his mother-in-law, and yes, they spent time on the Auob side. After the thunderstorms, we also had to contend with large road puddles, and a few lakes, mostly north of Nossob but also a few on the Auob side, when we were on our way back to Twee Rivieren,

Bright eyes!
One morning we met up with 4 lionesses at Dalkeith. Some very inquisitive lionesses!

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Who is that gorgeous specimen?(If you want a close encounter with a lioness, polish your car really well! :wink: )
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To be continued...

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Whooping Reflections!
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:44 pm 
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After investigating the car, the one lioness looked straight at me and started to investigate us. I must admit my stomach lurched as she walked closer and closer, and I realized our windows were still completely open, and the ignition was not on. The lioness switched her attention to Wezl in the back, who had just woken up, and was scrambling for the ‘window up’ button, which didn’t work.

My pic - very intimidating when a lion is walking towards you, and the window is down, I managed to focus on the top of her head instead of her eyes! :redface: She had already focussed on Wezl sitting behind me.
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markw’s pic -taken over my shoulder, the reason why the ignition was still off!
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I must add that the Barrydalers witnessed this, and got quite apprehensive/excited that they had a bird’s eye view of a potential KTP massacre. Well, SO turned the ignition key on, and all was well. Phew!!! This lioness definitely saw US IN the car!

My pic - Butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth!( Ja, right! :wink: )
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markw’s pix - lions, lions everywhere!
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Two lionesses collapsed at the waterhole, and there was great excitement in the vehicle when a herd of wildebeest approached. One wiley old wildie eventually gave the alarm call, and spoilt the lions’ day, but it was exciting to see the two lionesses change their positions and go into crouch/spring mode.

markw’s pix
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They dug in their claws and in this pic you can see how their muscles were bunched.... Ready, Set,...
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 Post subject: Re: KTP Whooping Reflections!
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:03 pm 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
Cute, Bold and Beautiful!

Near Craig Lockhart we discovered a Bat Eared Fox den - visibility was not great and the adults were always lying behind a bush, but we knew there were pups because every now and then we would catch a glimpse of a few little ears. Early one morning we were lucky. :dance: Mom, or Dad, was lying in front of a bush and the pups were investigating their neighbourhood.
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One of my favourite pix -‘the bold one’- the little one would stalk the doves, get within about 10 foot of the bird, then hightail it back to mom, where the whole procedure would start all over again when the next dove caught the pup’s eye.
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The most colourful butt in the business! We watched some Swallowtail Bee-eaters catch insects and found their ‘hole’ in the road verge.
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Not the best pic but my first of a Bee-eater leaving it’s hole. :dance: My shutter speed was too slow, but I actually like the blurred effect of the wings as it shows the motion. (Could also be showing my motion :roll: , as I was kneeling on the passenger seat, trying to see over SO, as the hole was on his side of the car)
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One of the snakes seen - this Cape Cobra we caught out in the open along the side of the road near Urikaruus. (Cape Cobras usually disappear into a bush or down a hole extremely fast.)
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We left it acting a bit strangely(spreading his hood at an angle and moving quite slowly) and wondered whether it had perhaps come into contact with a car.
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We did not see any snakes the first 2 days, when the temperatures were above 40.(even too HOT for snakes, that tells you something :wink: ) On our drives on the Auob side we met 2 cobras and a puffadder. Also, after a very productive drive one afternoon, we got back to Urikaruus and excitedly told Marius what we had seen. He just smiled and replied: “Well, you missed all the excitement here!” He then proceeded to tell us what had happened. The birds started making a racket in front of our unit, and when Marius went to investigate, he found a cobra climbing the stairs to our unit. Thankfully he caught the snake and moved it into the veld. :thumbs_up:

We also found a Cape Fox one morning. It had rained a lot in the night and he was lying a few metres away from the road, trying to dry off.

markw’s pix:
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Can’t a chap get some shuteye around here?
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Just too tired(he must have had a bad night), so he ignored us and went to sleep.
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 Post subject: Re: KTP Whooping Reflections!
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:25 pm 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
Thanx Elsa! :thumbs_up: Come to think of it, we did not see one dead snake this trip. That is amazing!

To continue.....
Another special sighting - we found this familiar old guy sleeping at Dalkeith( a KTP trip would not feel complete to us without meeting him :wink: ) , and about 100 metres away from him, 2 cheetahs were resting under a tree. :dance: 2 different cat species so close to one another!
The old guy ( :wall: could not get a pic including all the cats)
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We left them, both still oblivious to each’s presence.
2 mornings later we met up with a whole lion pride on the top road at the Dalkeith loop. They were passed out in the shade, so we continued a further 600 metres down the road and found...
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2 male cheetahs, one right next to the road.(We suspected these 2 were the same ones we saw 2 days before)

At least cheetahs flop and scan most of the time, lions just flop and pass out! :roll:
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This IS getting embarrassing!
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We had a lot of cheetah sightings on the Auob side, between Kamqua and Sitzas. One day we saw 9 cheetahs(4 different sightings). This time we did not see a collared cheetah! :hmz:

And it is always special when you find a Kalahari lion walking. :dance: (markw's pic)
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Birds on the Auob side - We noticed that the raptors were few and far between. We saw just one Lanner falcon, stationed at Craig Lockhart waterhole. The exception was the Gabar Goshawk. There seems to be a resident pair at Mata Mata camp - we found them sitting in the big tree behind the old chalets on both afternoons. We spotted lots of Gabars on our drives, sitting IN the trees, as opposed to sitting on top/ or on outer branches of trees/bushes.

This Gabar was at 13th borehole, under a bush very close to the waterhole.
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Secretary birds at home!
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The 13th borehole Puffie!(markw's pic)
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And we finally got a close up of a giraffe at Craig Lockhart early one morning. According to other visitors to the park, the giraffes had made themselves scarce.
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markw's pic
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 Post subject: Re: KTP Whooping Reflections!
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:59 pm 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
To continue...
Just a bit about Urikaruus - one of our favourite camps. :thumbs_up: This time we had unit 2 and 3. Although we did not see any big cats in camp, we saw a caracal one evening, drinking at the waterhole. We also saw an AWC early one morning(very shy) and a Cape Fox in the evening.
The camp waterhole was busy - we had the usual springbok, gemsbok, jackals and secretary birds come to drink. And we also met a bat - found him stuck underneath the door in unit 2. Marius put him outside on the fence pole, in the shade. He disappeared in the late afternoon and we hoped that he flew off to join his mates. We also like the camp because it is close to the loops, and you normally have a bit of time to yourself at early morning sightings.

Coming up ... our best Auob sightings :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Whooping Reflections!
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:23 pm 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
Early one morning we found the hyenas outside the den. :dance: I put my ISO up to the max(1600) and hoped for the best.

Mom’s little headrest!
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The young one was restless. Wanna play?....Humph!
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Wanna play?....In my dreams!
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And then Babe found something....
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A teething ring.....
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And ... :dance: a scratching post!
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Image

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Whooping Reflections!
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:36 pm 
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Location: 4 hours from KNP : South Africa
Just found your TR with amazing sightings and photos. Another great KTP TR in the making - I just love these KTP TR's. :)


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 Post subject: Re: KTP Whooping Reflections!
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:08 pm 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
Aah Mom, I love you!
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How about a tumble?
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Isn’t she just beautiful? :wink:
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In this sighting which lasted about half an hour, we learnt how close and tolerant hyena clan members are.

Life is Good!
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And we felt that life had been very good to us this morning! :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Whooping Reflections!
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:53 am 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
Next...our best cheetah sighting!

We were on our way back to Urikaruus, and near the turnoff to the 14th borehole loop we saw 3 cheetahs crossing the road 200m in front of us. A car was already there so we slowly crept up and found mom very interested in a tree right next to the road. Her grown-up cubs decided to lie down about 30 metres away, in the middle of the riverbed. The car at the sighting left, and we stopped and switched off, to enjoy the cheetahs. Mom sat down at the base of the tree and after a few minutes, one cub got up and came nearer to investigate. :dance: He was very skittish, and really looked at us, but wanted to know why mom was staying put.
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(I'm now over my pic KB limit, so will continue on next page.)

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Whooping Reflections!
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:06 am 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
Mom decided to lie down, and after another few minutes the other cub also came towards the tree.

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He lay down right next to his brother. Hey Ma, what’s up?

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In sync! Couldn’t we rather go over there?

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Mom played eye spy with us every now and then.

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Later, another car pulled up behind us. The noise was too much for the cubs, who immediately jumped up and headed for the other side of the riverbed. They soon disappeared behind a low dune. A minute or so later mom started looking uncomfortable and scanned the area.

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She got up and carried on looking for her cubs. Then she started to chirp! :dance:

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She was calling her boys. This was a first for us - hearing a cheetah call! We started to get worried as her chirping became more insistent, then the 2 cubs came bounding over the dune, and she started walking towards them. As soon as the cubs saw her walking in their direction, they turned and headed back over the dune. I was hoping for a ‘long lost greeting’ pic but it was not to be, but I think the noise of mom’s chirping and the moment her boys came bounding over the dune, are precious memories that will stay with my family forever. Wezl? :hmz: For once he was not sleeping! :wink: :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Whooping Reflections!
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:14 pm 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
Just got a reply from Margie and Gus Mills:

"Many thanks for these photos of the Batulama female and her two sons. We first got photos of her in the Batulama area in 2006 when we started the cheetah project and did not get another photo until we got yours! In 2006 she was with a male, we thought her son. There are some cheetah that never, or very seldom come into the riverbeds, and therefore are not seen by anyone. We saw her and her 2 sons on 19th Jan 2011 near Sitsas, and she was seen a week earlier in the same area by some other tourists. Maybe she is in the riverbeds at the moment because there are lots of springbok lambs that are easier for them to catch than the adults."

This explains why the cubs were so skittish when we saw them! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Whooping Reflections!
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:28 pm 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
We also came across the old guy at Dalkeith one morning(think it is his favourite place), and he was awake this time. :dance: Looking quite regal!(all markw's pix)

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:hmz: His eyes do seem softer than other lions though.

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To us he looked like he was in good condition. He still took pride in his appearance. :thumbs_up:

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He gave himself a good wash!
And how many of us over 40 :whistle: can touch our ear with our toes? :huh:

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On our way back to TR a week later, we heard that the old guy had struck it lucky that morning. He was feasting on a wildebeest. According to the chap who told us the news, the wildie must have died giving birth, as the old guy could never have killed a wildie by himself. Well, we went to look for ourselves and found a passed out lion with an enormous tum, lying about 10 metres away from a well stripped wildie carcass. Going by the carcass, the old guy’s jaw didn’t bother him that much. Could he still kill? :hmz: We thought so!

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Whooping Reflections!
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:25 pm 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
LIFE SUCKS!
Near Kamqua(markw's pix)

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500 metres up the road....
Mom had just given birth. Babe had arrived on this boiling hot morning, and did not know what to do with the long sticklike things attached to her. She would get the back 2 working, and the front 2 would go sideways in opposite directions, and she’d kiss the ground. Finally, she got all 4 listening to her, and wobbled over to mom on stilts.
Just in time.

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Phew! If it was not for mom!

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So thirsty! The answer must be here somewhere!

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But those sticklike things have a mind of their own. Nothing left but to hit the dirt!

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Up again! Thirstier! Mom gives encouragement. :thumbs_up:

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No luck! Babe wobbles off a few steps.....and meets the MONSTER :big_eyes: , who rams her with his horns.

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Babe collapses to the ground.
Too weak! Must lie still, but the Monster sees her....

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and rams her again...and kicks her while she is down.

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(Apologies :redface: , last 2 pix are mine. I could not believe what I was seeing , so missed the actual kick, but captured the end of it.)
Will continue soon!

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Whooping Reflections!
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:01 pm 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
Mom walks nearer, Monster retreats, and Babe manages to get up again.
Mom gives her ‘Come Here’ looks.

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So so thirsty! Where is it?

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Getting closer!

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Oh no, here we go again!

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More wobbles! Let’s start at the very beginning. :roll:

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Aah! GOTCHA! :thumbs_up:

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We were at this sighting for about 20 minutes. We also found the behaviour of the Monster bok very strange. :hmz: When Babe and mom got together, the Monster turned its attention to a slightly older lamb. As you can see by the pix, this behaviour was not a once off.

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Luckily this lamb made for a low thorn tree, which it stood under, safe for now from the advances of the Monster.

Life’s tough on all creatures...but especially tough on springbok lambs, but for now Babe was satisfied and safe with mom. :thumbs_up: We hoped that the cheetahs, just around a corner in the road, had a long rest in the shade of that tree. :pray:

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 Post subject: Re: KTP Whooping Reflections!
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:22 am 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
Thanx S&D! :thumbs_up:

Concerning the Monster's behaviour...
Reply from KG:

Due to the fact that it wasn’t the mothers baby she would push it away (You see this behaviour in impala as well), BUT the harsh behaviour could be that the female might have lost her own baby or hasn’t had one before and therefore that behaviour. The fact that it looks like she tries and mount the youngster could just be that she tries to motivate the baby to 'Move on'

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