It’s Monday 29th July 2013 and new arrivals at Majete!

It has been quite a while since we have had some news from Malawi, so for this week it is over to Emma, the manager at Mkulumadzi.

“The season has got off to a very good start with lots of exciting developments happening in Majete Wildlife Reserve. The bush is thinning out despite having a few freakish and unseasonal rainstorms (whilst the U.K is having a heat wave!).

The birding has been fantastic to many avid birders delight. We had Pels Fishing Owl being spotted and African Finfoot along the Shire River during an afternoon boat safari. Samuel Chihana, one of our guides’ whose knowledge and passion for birds seems to be unmatched, has also stumbled upon what seems to be a cross between a White-browed Coucal and Burchel’s Coucal. The bird was an adult sized Coucal with a small eyebrow but lacks the stripes round the neck of the White-browed Coucal and has a completely dark crown of the Burchel’s.

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At the lodge a hippo has taken up residence just outside our house, which we continue to find a pleasant surprise every evening. It scarpers as if being caught in a compromising position but soon settles back into a mound of dirt until finding enough energy to graze again. Buzz the bushbaby and her baby, who is now fully grown, are still popping down on occasion and Buzz is crying out for a mate at all hours of the morning. The baby hippo is still trying to befriend the massive crocodile on the island just in front of the lodge, who doesn’t seem interested in either being its friend or eating it.

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We said farewell to Dorian Tilbury, the Field Operations Manager in the reserve at the end of June and wish him well with his next adventure. He had suspected for a while that Shire, the lioness, had given birth to cubs as she had taken herself off into a remote section of the park, which is not accessible by vehicles. The males seemed to be coming and going into the same area as Shire, who has been leaving to hunt. This could mean that they have been sharing babysitting duties which is not unheard of. Before he left, Dorian and some scouts went out on foot to try and get a visual sighting of the cubs. The bush was thick and although they could make out the area that she was in with the telemetry, they could not actually see her. They picked up that she was closing in on them but was not growling with warning, which they took as a bad sign that she was stalking them, so they decided to retreat.

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The scouts have tried three times this month to establish the number of cubs she has. The first outing, one lion cub was spotted, the second time there was no visual of the cub although they found fresh spoor walking abreast of an adult. On the third outing the cub was spotted again by the scouts and was seen on an animal trail walking along side Shire, who charged at them! Fortunately the scouts managed to get away safely although they could not get photographic evidence of the cub. This is very exciting news for our lion population, but sadly as this is Shire’s first litter it is not unusual for them not to survive. We are crossing our fingers for the little one (and for the chance of there being more than one) whilst hoping that we can get photographic evidence soon!

There is also another addition to the rhino family. On the 17th July, Shamwari was spotted with a new calf which brings the rhino population up to 13. The calf has not been sexed yet but was estimated to be only a few days old when spotted.

Whilst out on a game drive with some guests last week (and with a nearly full moon which helps to see them clearly without the need of a spotlight which can spook them), Chris spotted another rhino. He wasn’t able to determine which rhino it was but it was a very lucky sighting as it stuck around for some time.

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Well we are looking forward to the rest of the season and for more exciting news in the next few months.”

Great to hear that all is well in Majete and it is very exciting to hear about Shire’s cub. Majete has come a long way – have a look at this inspiring video detailing the relocation of the lions which Robin Pope Safaris was a part of.

That is it for this Monday, have a great week and catch up with you soon.

Cheers

emily1

 

 

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