With winter continuing to creep in here at Sabi Sabi, it allowed for cool and chilly mornings and the most magnificent daytime temperatures. A highlight this week was certainly spotting the return of the blue-eyed female elephant calf. The cause of this blue-eyed phenomenon is due to a form of albinism often referred to as blue-eyed albinism due to her being a partial albino who only has some residual pigmentation. Obviously the degree of piebaldism (patchy albinism) due to localized mutations in skin cells varies greatly amongst individuals.
The Charleston Pride successfully killed an adult female buffalo, and in doing so chased a huge herd of buffalo North of our boundary. Amazingly the pride was able to kill the cow between game drives. We had followed and watched them unsuccessfully try continually to make a kill after failing they found some shade to relax and watch the herd for their next potential opportunity.
The Sand River males have been seen patrolling through the Southern sections of Sabi Sabi looking for each other and potentially members of the Southern Pride. This continual patrolling is possibly what has led to the huge disruptions amongst the Southern Pride.
The Leopard viewing this week as been incredible. Warthog Wallow made a successful kill right in front of us and only to be stolen by two hyenas just outside of Bush Lodge. It has often been shown that leopard will often kill twice in a single night, once to get the hyenas off of their scent and to act like a decoy while she is then able to secure her second kill.
The Little Bush female was found playfully rolling around during a break after she failed to secure her and her cubs a meal. Although we haven’t been able to see the cubs this week, we believe that they are doing well and still alive due to the continual movement of leopard cub tracks around Little Bush Camp.
The ever magnificent and unmistakable Sandriver male leopard was found again right outside of Earth Lodge. We believe he is blind in his eye due to a fight several years ago with a neighboring dominant male leopard.
Once again Maxabeni has had a dominant presence around Sabi Sabi, really showing off why he is our dominant leopard around Bush Lodge, Little Bush Camp and Selati Camp. The distance he marches on a daily patrol still continues to baffle the rangers and trackers alike.
Between the exhilarating mornings and evening safaris, the ranging and tracking team members helped to burn firebreaks throughout the reserve. These firebreaks are essential as the Bushveld continues to dry out and will help reduce the risk of wild fires decimating the beautiful landscape in which we work in. These photos show that although it is extremely tough and tiring on the lungs the team members still maintain a smile and amazing friendships.
With the recent flush of green grass on the newly burnt areas it has continued for an influx of zebras onto many of our open areas. This magnificent picture highlights two truly beautiful things found in Africa, the magnificent sunsets and zebra.
Once again a male cheetah has created excitement here by his presence. Is he spending more time down here to more potential pressures of territory further North, only time will tell. Once again he was found looking for his next potential meal by walking along the tree lines of the burnt sections, looking for impala and any animal attracted to the green flush.