June Game Report

Mashatu Game Reserve - Lion on stolen kill

The kill the male lion took from the leopard by Andrei Snyman

Lions

Our central pride consisting of eight lions (1 adult male, 2 adult lionesses and 5 cubs) provided some magnificent game viewing during the month. A few more eland kills were made, which comes as no surprise as we are heading in the late stages of the dry season. Eland and kudu, especially the lone bulls, are losing condition, and lions are making hay while the winter sun shines as they target these species. In one week we either saw or heard of four different eland kills and one kudu kill made by this pride of lions.

Mashatu Game Reserve - Central lion pride on eland kill

Central lion pride on eland kill by Andrei Snyman

The four sub-adults (three females and one male) that have been roaming around the central region split up for nearly a week. We saw two of them moving further south and west in the reserve, into areas not previously utilised by them before. what of particular interest regarding these young lions is their opportunism. We noticed two of them feeding on an eland carcass for a couple of days, and soon after they were done they moved down to Croc Pool waterhole in the Majale River. When we found them the evening they had linked up with the other two, and surprisingly, between the four they’d just killed a kudu bull. Utterly engorged would be the only word to describe the two lions that had just polished off an eland carcass.

Leopard

Fantastic leopard sightings were had during June, but by far the highlight for everyone was seeing the adult female with her three small cubs. Females aren’t inclined to move too far from their offspring in the first few months, so we frequently saw this ‘leap-of-leopard’ around Fig Tree Crossing. We also came across a few young males and an adult male in and around Mashatu.

Mashatu Game Reserve - Leopard

Bogale the leopard watching his hard-earned wildebeest kill being consumed by the male lion by Andrei Snyman

On one particular predator drive we tracked down our adult male lion. He had a wildebeest kill that quite obviously didn’t belong to him. Based on his GPS radio collar movements, that morning the big cat was a long way away from where we found him. There was also not much meat was left on the carcass, which further proved our theory that he hadn’t caught the buck himself. with the location of the kill site being on a rocky ridge area, I wondered exactly how this lion managed to get his hands on this kill. Just as we were leaving the site to search for one of my collared male leopards, we were all stunned to see the male sitting not even 200m away. In all likelihood the male leopard had killed the juvenile wildebeest, only to have it usurped the lion who must picked up the scent of the kill while on patrol.

Mashatu Game Reserve - Cheetah

Cheetah on Cheetah Koppie by Andrei Snyman

Cheetah

We had various random cheetah sightings during June. We saw the usual coalition of three males close to the Vlei. We also found a new male that we haven’t seen before. Ironically, he was heading up Cheetahs-Koppie at the tim. This newcomer was very skittish and kept looking back at our vehicle as we tagged along behind him. Based on their tracks, we presume the female with the young cub to be living around the western parts of Mashatu.

Mashatu Game Reserve - Hyenas

Hyenas by Andrei Snyman

Spotted Hyena

As usual these amazing predators were seen randomly across the landscape. Now that there are three known active dens on Mashatu, spotted hyaena sightings are better than ever. Cubs from the Majale River den are becoming bolder in their quest to explore the unknown territories outside their home.

Sightings of the less common Brown hyena were also had, but these were only around the far south-west areas of Mashatu, along the Motloutse and Limpopo Rivers. Camera traps in that region also confirmed their frequent presence along footpaths. More interesting is that a caracal and Striped polecat were also recorded on these camera traps.

Mashatu Game Reserve - African Wild Cat

African Wild cat by Andrei Snyman

Sighting of the month

Our sighting of the sighting of the month took place on our return from an evening drive, when we spotted yet another Scrub hare running across the road. What made this sighting so special was the African Wildcat poised and ready to pounce. In a flash the little cat pounced on the unaware hare (which was almost just as big as the cat) and killed it by repeatedly biting it on the head. Unlike the larger cats, these smaller predators don’t necessarily dispatch their victims by means of suffocation.

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Predator regards,

Andrei Snyman

PLEASE NOTE: This blog is still in it’s infancy stages so the Sightings maps, Predator maps and CyberDiary Archives aren’t up and running just yet. The Pete’s Pond is live however, so make sure to wander over there and see what the animals are up to.



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