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Monday, 23 February 2009

NamibRand: Another successful hunt!

Day 73 (18th February)

The boys spent a quiet morning with the girls. At various points they marked and/or rubbed the fence. At one point Misty decided to chase Rosy around the pen and this sent all the boys into something of a frenzy of excitement. When the chase begins again, the boys tried to follow but were frustrated by the fence. After a little while, when he girls fail to reappear, all five move off to their favourite play tree on the west side.

Around 15:30 in the afternoon, the boys head out to the pan and their favourite hunting grounds.

While walking in a Southern direction they spotted a group of Oryx. Now, I initially thought they were much too far away and the boys should try and move closer be for attempting a run. This was not the case. They took off together and all of a sudden, in a burst of speed, one of them (no idea who, they were nearly 3000m away!) just easily over took the entire group of Oryx. I have no idea how fast he was going but this is by far the fastest I've ever seen any of the boys move (or any other animal for that matter…). He over took the group and turned causing the Oryx to stall, the others then caught up and sort of 'herded' the group around in a half-circle. In the melee I couldn't see the actual take down and it took a few minutes for us to see what was happening amongst it all. Then I saw a couple of the boys chasing the Oryx again! They stopped after a few metres and this is when I was certain they had something and were just keeping the others at bay. We quickly left and travelled around to the Wolwedans road and walked out to the site. We saw a few eager jackals before coming into a position to see them. Sure enough, they were exhausted but happily feasting away. They had already eaten some and moved around a bit so I couldn't tell who had done the actually killing but at least they've fed themselves once again. This is such exciting stuff! We left them shortly afterwards so as not to disturb their dinner.

The kill was another young Oryx, Horns: w 14cm l 47cm Approx. Body length: 1.5m. Judging by the longer, wider pelvis shape I believe this was a female Oryx.

Day 74 (20th February)

After yesterday's successful hunt, the boys spent the entire day hanging around the girls pen. In the morning, Ra and Misty spent over half an hour pacing the fence-line together, while the other boys rest in the grass nearby. In the afternoon, Ra continue to apparently court Misty, while the other boys stick closer to Rosy. As the girls are fed, Ra and Mushara have a small fight, with Ra, for once, winning. As the girls move deeper into their pen, the boys lie down to rest nearby, with Cadbury and Mushara grooming each-other.

And the Female with Cubs?

The collared female is remaining to the south of the boys and the farmhouse. We have confirmed visually that her cubs are still with her.

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