It’s Monday 10th December 2012 and leopards, bush babies and fork tailed drongos

This week we’ll hear from the guys down at Majete. So its over to Emma!

“The changing of season has been toying with us for some time. We have had a few spots of rain (although nothing to write home about) but enough to liven up the bush a bit. Shoots on trees have started sprouting and the animals are looking a little happier for it.

Female nyala in the foliage

Will and Lianne have been here to film the Mkulumadzi promotional video which should be online early next year. The weather has been forecasted to rain so it’s been hectic, dashing and panicking to try and get as many shots as possible done with good lighting.

We decided to head out into the park to get some wildlife and river shots. We passed a large tree and Lianne whispers under her breathe that she thinks she’s seen something, some sort of tail which could possibly be a baboon or leopard (she was not wearing her glasses at the time)! We were all debating whether or not to go back, thinking surely a leopard wouldn’t be found on the main road of the park in the early afternoon. But we decided to go back anyway and, lo and behold, sitting in the top of the tree canopy was a beautiful leopard! We watched her for a while until she decided she had had enough and scampered down the tree into the bush with animal alarm calls ensuing with her departure. It was amazing!

Still on the topic of leopards, on Saturday, I was invited to go along to the final leopard release which was part of the reintroduction program at Majete. The female had actually released herself a few days before, she clearly couldn’t wait to make Majete her home. Andre Uys, the African Parks vet, was back again for the release of the male.

In the vanStill sedated

TeethReady to be released

where am Ireleased

They tried a couple of times to dart the male but missed and the boy was being very stubborn and did not sound too happy. Finally they got him down and we were able to go and have a closer look at him. He’s massive, weighing 62kg., which is very large for a male leopard. He was transported to a location along the Shire River, in the same area the escaped female is in, as they’ve ‘bonded’ whilst in the boma. He started to come round, front first and his back legs took a bit longer to catch up, and then off he went down towards the Shire.

Back at the lodge, we have had some very special (and cute) arrivals. Firstly, Buzz the bushbaby has had two babies of her own and brought them over to proudly show them off. We also have inherited a baby Forked Tailed Drongo who was found after the heavy rains. The little thing was covered in sand and we’ve had to play mother bird by feeding it grasshoppers. It’s become very used to us now, so much so that every time we walk past, it shrieks with its mouth gapping open waiting for food.  It has an insatiable appetite and is waking us up at dawn break crying for food. And just like a baby it decides that it is tired, pops its head under its wing and goes back to sleep, leaving us wide awake when we should be having our last few hours of sleep!”

Buzz and the babies (well  hiden)Fork tailed drongo

Thanks Emma, sounds like it’s all happening down at Majete!

Hope you have a a great week ahead, catch up with you next Monday.

Emily

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