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Wednesday, 10 June 2009

NamibRand report from James - 31/5/2009

Well, it’s been another interesting day down here at NamibRand. Although the boys were fairly relaxed today, they’ve managed to achieve their goal of catching another young Zebra. The must have got it the other day when I saw them on the kill and judging from the crime scene, I think they surprised the group as they were resting. The flattened grass, churned up ground and masses of hoof prints lead me to this conclusion. Also, this would tie in with the near-full moon again and I think it’s fairly well proven now that whenever they get the chance, they use this to their advantage. It is clear that the boys are getting better at killing and leaving the site. They’ve had a lot more meals than that I can assure you, but finding them in the tall grass or even trying to locate the area is very tricky.

I found Shanti’s location today and I think she’s resting in another river bed. I didn’t want to go after her as I thought that approaching her in a more confined area might freak her out a little. She still seems to be doing great however, and her movements appear normal to me. I guess she likes to travel along these paths as, like the mountains, they provide her with a little more cover and leave her less exposed. Today was incredible windy, and I was nearly blown from the roof of the Cruiser a couple of times while tracking! So, she may have been taking shelter from the elements as well (Nils, you were right about those Eastern winds!).

Other news, as I was looking for Shanti this morning, we got a call from Abraham saying that he had just seen a big Leopard drinking from the Porcupine watering hole. I wasn’t far from here, and couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Sure enough, we saw a massive male hanging around and stayed with him, watching from a good distance. He was very relaxed and sure of himself, marking just about every large tree he went past. I reckon this could be the guy who the boys met up with as I highly doubt there would be more than one leopard in such a small territory. A good sighting none the less and at least we know to be careful around the area now! He must have weighed in between 60-65kgs. Very cool. I don’t think we’ll have a problem with Shanti meeting up with this brute though, as she seems to be just a little more intelligent and cautious than the males…

I’ll keep you posted though and, let you know what tomorrow brings. Later, -James

PS from Patricia: The picture is of Mushara and Cadbury at sunset, taken from James’ photo album. Thanks, James!

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