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Rangers Report – October 2010

By Uncategorised

There must be a very tired Stork somewhere after delivering a few special parcels with us at Rhino River. The babies we have wondering around now include a few new Giraffe, some very little Nyala lambs and a brand new baby White Rhino!

On a game drive recently, I took a route that is not often used and we came across the female white rhino with her new little calf. Very cute little thing, although we are not too sure of its sex yet. It was bouncing around trying to dislodge the Oxpeckers that had taken up residence on its face.
After leaving them, and rounding a corner, one of the guests said that she could see a little something in the bushes next to the vehicle. After catching a glance at the movement under the bush, I realised we were actually watching two young Black Backed Jackal pups and they were just outside their den! Adorable little guys…
Another great sighting was on a routine maintenance drive when I heard something scurrying next to the road. I stopped the vehicle to discover two tiny newborn baby Warthogs that had obviously made their way out of the burrow and couldn’t find their way back in. They were a fair distance from an obviously occupied burrow as there were flies circling the entrance way, I couldn’t leave these little guys to the elements and I decided to intervene. I contacted Dale via radio and he warned me that if the piglets screamed, the mother would not be very happy with me! Warthogs can be quite dangerous and they actually enter their burrows backwards in order to be facing any intruders that might make their way into the burrows. After deliberating for a while I left them to carry on with my work and decided to stop by on my way home again. An hour later, I made my way back to the burrow to discover only one Piglet out in the sun, curled up in a ball. I prodded the little guy to check if it would squeal and after making sure it was relaxed, I picked him up and took him over to the burrow where I gently (and very quietly!) pushed him back in. Unfortunately after searching the bushes quite thoroughly for the second piglet, I had to trust that it had found his own way back in or that Mamma Warthog had come out to get it.

Oh, and the Cheetah and Leopard have been around…but I wouldn’t want to bore you with that, so I’ll leave it for another post… 🙂

I have also decided that because we have so many great experiences and sightings and stories to tell, I will be updating the blog more regularly.
Signing off…

Rangers Report – September 2010

By Cheetah, Kudu, Manyoni Private Game Reserve, Pythons, Rhino River Lodge, Rhino River Lodge Rangers Report, Sightings, Steenbok, Tawny Eagle

So last month ended with a fantastic sighting of a Leopard with an Impala carcass. We were truly spoilt with that sighting and we really couldn’t have asked for anything more, but Mother Nature had another surprise in store for us…

With the traversing that we are doing across Zululand Rhino Reserve, all the rangers from the different lodges have decided that to make sure our guests experience everything the reserve has to offer we will now call in Big 4 sightings or any other sightings that guests may find interesting.
Isaac was out on the morning game drive, when the call came through over the radio that there was a Cheetah kill on our boundary. Off Isaac went and luckily enough he had the sighting to himself as the other game drive vehicles had already driven off. The two male cheetahs had taken down a Kudu ram and were lazily looking on from a shady overhang. They had obviously had their fill. Around the kill the vultures had already settled and were waiting for their opportunity to go ahead and devour what was left. A Marabou stork was also prowling around and snatching up any meat that might have been discarded during the Cheetahs feeding frenzy. What a great experience!

Dale, our Reserve Manager had an interesting find when he came across a massive African Rock python out in the reserve. We have been keeping an eye out for it as pythons of that size are really hard to come by these days what with all the threats they have against them. It seems to have made itself at home in a Warthog burrow right next to our main road and it has been spotted out sunning himself on quite a few occasions.

Back to birding, I had a very strange experience with a Tawny Eagle and a Steenbok. We had stopped off on a ridge to watch the birds flying down below us, when we a Tawny Eagle landed just a few metres away from a Steenbok who was out on an open piece of veld grazing. The Tawny then proceeded to run after the Steenbok and when it was close enough, it would jump up in the air and try and grab the Steenbok with its talons. Well the Steenbok did not seem at all phased about it as they were about the same size. The Steenbok would walk a few paces away and the Tawny would try his luck again running along and jumping up once the Steenbok was close enough. He was obviously convinced about his strategy as he went on to repeat the performance a few times before the Steenbok decided enough was enough and ran away!
Well that’s all until next month, signing off for now…

Rangers Report – August

By Rhino River Lodge Rangers Report

What a fantastic month for sightings it’s been! The White Rhino have been plentiful, but we are still hoping for those elusive Black Rhino to make themselves seen. Isaac had a sighting of a young black rhino who was previously quite a common sight with us here at Rhino River. It seems like he is still up to his old tricks of coming right up to the vehicle and having a sniff, before trundling back into the bush again. He sure does make for an exciting drive!

Speaking of excitement, we had a camp full of guests and both Isaac and I were out doing drives. Isaac noticed an Impala carcass near one of our waterholes on a morning drive and promised his guests that they would return on the afternoon drive to check if anything had fed off it. During our afternoon drive, Isaac and I agreed that we would meet at the same spot for sundowners. My guests were relaxing around the dam with drinks in their hands when Isaacs vehicle pulled up in a cloud of dust and excitement.” Leopard! Leopard!” they were all shouting. Of course I just had to get in on the action and so Isaac and I chatted about their sighting and he gave me directions to the Impala carcass where it had been spotted. My guests all dropped their half-drunk drinks in haste to jump back on the vehicle and head out.
As we pulled up in the area where the carcass was, I briefed my guests and asked if we could be especially quiet while we pulled up to the carcass. Leopards are notoriously secretive and shy and the best way to approach them is by stealth. Looking towards the right where Isaac told us the carcass was we glanced around looking for any sign of movement and there it was. A beautiful young Leopard sitting on the bank of the river, looking over at us with much curiosity. We had about 3 full minutes with him before he disappeared off into the thicket. Once he had wondered off, the guests and I exhaled in unison. We had all been holding our breath in fear that the slightest noise or cough would chase him off. Well, greed got the better of us and we decided to drive around the block and see if we could possibly be lucky enough to glimpse him again. As we rounded the corner, approaching the carcass, there he was again! Walking along the bank but quickly picking up his pace once he heard our vehicle approaching. We managed to watch him trotting off and realised our ”Leopard Luck” had been used up.

There is plenty more cat excitement for us here at Rhino River, but I’ll save that story for next month…