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Monday, 9 March 2009

Namibrand Boys - days 84-89 (Mar. 2 - Mar. 7)

It's been a bit of a tense week for those of us monitoring the boys, but it has now had a happy ending.  With the coming of the rainy season, the herbivores have scattered all over the place making it far harder for the boys to hunt. As of March 2nd, they hadn't successfully hunted for nearly a week, although they were spotted following groups of Oryx and Hartebeest towards the mountains.   On the 3rd, they (especially Mushara) approached so closely to the farmhouse that James had to chase them off, and still didn't successfully hunt anything.  On the 4th they became increasingly aggressive when James fed the girls, with Mushara again at the fore, but didn't bother trying to hunt for themselves.


Reluctant as we were to start feeding them again, it was obvious that they needed a boost and on March 5th, James located a recent leopard kill (a young Oryx) and placed it in the boys path.  The leopard had only eaten a little before leaving so there was plenty left.  James moved it far enough away so that the leopard couldn't find it again.  The boys tucked in and ate their fill.


The following day the boys spent a relaxing day, with Mushara spending time with Rosy and Ra with Misty.  They didn't leave the vicinity of the pens all day.


On March 7th, the boys again headed out onto the pan after spending only a brief period looking for the girls at the pen.  At some time around 6pm they successfully hunted a Springbok!  The last data point for this day is the kill site.




The satellite collars on both Mushara and the female have now switched over to their second (and final) duty cycle.  This means that instead of them recording GPS data every 2 hrs, and transmitting it back to us each day, they now record GPS data only every 12 hrs and transmit to us one a week.  This was a pre-programmed changeover that is set in the collars' memories just before fitting on the cats.  The reduced activity will extend the battery life considerably.



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