Its Monday 18th April 2016 and curiosity almost killed the cat

Hello there so how was the weekend? I hope that you all had a fabulous time and welcome to a new and wonderful week. Here in the Luangwa well there is definitely a chill in the air and the rains certainly appear to be petering out and we are in full flavor camp building mode with trucks, tractors and harrows dispersed to the various corners of the South Luangwa. However given that we have only just started on this I am going to leave the full “de-brief” until next week as for this week well we have an exception story from Simon Cousins who has just spent a few days with us at Luangwa House.

Simon – over to you:

All trips to the Luangwa Valley are special no matter what you do or do not see. I fully believe that so long as everyone on the vehicle appreciates this and does not want to go charging around the place, ticking off lists of the big game, you will inevitably see some amazing stuff as there is so much to be seen in the Luangwa. Stop, look and listen to the surroundings, have patience, and you will have a lot of wonderful sightings.

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Such was the case with my most recent trip……

Along with a previously unseen Spurwing Lapwing in the Valley and the plethora of other lovely sights of all kinds of fauna and flora we found the pack of 6 wild dogs sitting in the grass on the side of the road, not doing a great deal. On closer inspection I noticed that they were fairly skinny so I told the crew me that if we stayed with them I was certain that they would attempt to hunt. Patience was required in this situation!!

A few moments later a small herd of elephants came through the bush and chased the dogs. This got them up and going, a few stretches and some play fighting from some of the younger dogs and they were off with purpose down the road. The hunt was on.

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We followed the dogs for over an hour as they first had a go at two large warthogs ( the warthogs were having none of this and saw the dogs off with ease ! ) and then headed down through areas that are usually teaming with impala. Surprisingly there were no impala to be seen on the day. They then attempted to look for bushbuck in thicker vegetation. This hunting method required one dog to go into the dense thickets and try and find something to flush out towards the waiting packed. No luck here.

They then trotted on and came to another fairly large open area where Impala were usually in abundance – this time they were in luck and they took off after a couple of large herds of impala. Very exciting stuff and the impala were stotting and running in all directions trying to escape the dogs. We followed where we could and tried to pre-empt where the dogs would come out (not easy!) and then I said to the crew on the vehicle that I thought they were gone and were off into the bushes.

No sooner had I said this than the pack burst through a gap in the bush hot on the heels of a female impala………. Right in front of us!!

The impala, in a panicked attempt to escape the dogs, jumped into a thicket, bleating loudly. As the impala exited the thicket on the other side the dogs took it down.

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Unbeknownst to us the panicked bleating of the impala roused the attention of a nearby large, slumbering male leopard, who came out to see if he could get himself a free meal. The leopard looked on with interest as the feeding frenzy continued………until one of the dogs noticed the intruder and took exception to the presence of the competition!

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65Alerting the rest of the pack to the leopards presence they took it on and a short standoff took place before the leopard realised that this was not a fight he could win and turned tail! The dogs saw this as an opportunity to follow up their attack with a few well-aimed nips to the leopards rear before it sought the safety of a nearby tree.

Satisfied with their success in seeing off the competition the dogs returned to their meal. Within ten minutes most of it was gone and the only job left to do was harass the ever-present vultures.

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Good grief I mean what an epic! Thanks so much Simon for sharing this incredible sighting with us and I am going to make no attempt to follow on from that instead I shall bid you all a very fond farewell. Hope that you have a wonderful week with lots of smiles and laughter.

Ems

 

 

 

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