Thanks Katti. It is sad news. Now there are only two Mapogo's left, and they will have to live as a nomad now. I read several pages on FB and many say the same: he was a strong male lion. I only hope with the southern males nearby now the prides that have their territory there will be safe, there are many cubs (offspring of the Mapogo's) that are in danger now.
The workers have a arrived to start fixing Gowrie Dam wall. We have been told it will take 4 days to complete. Game viewing from the cam may be quiet with all the activity, but with luck we may have some more rain before the end of season to fill the dam a bit.
Jurie and I have just popped down to "new" Galago to unpack some boxes of kitchen equipment that arrived from "old" Galago today. On the Vuyatela driveway (now shared with "new" Galago) and we were met by five hyenas. Very cool. We got to the camp and started unpacking, as I opened the glass front door, there stood Karula, female leopard, looking at me from the lawn alongside the pool. She then lay down and watched us go about our business - behind the closed glass door! Then an interesting dilemma dawned on us - we will need to get past her to get to the vehicle to get home. Of course the 2-way radio has not been installed yet, so we were somewhat stranded. Jurie solved the problem by walking towards her beating two stainless steel mixing bowls together creating a big noise, and she slinked off into the night. Half an hour later we were ready to leave, no signs of Karula, but not wanting to take a chance, I walked with the puny little torch shining all around, while Jurie stuck to my side beating on the mixing bowls. As we got to the Jeep, a final little shine around, and there she was, ten meters behind the vehicle! I grabbed my camera, but as I clicked she passed behind, and the shot only shows the rear fender! All very exciting on the eve of Galago's opening! By the way, the lodge is looking beautiful, and with a final push tomorrow morning, we'll be ready for our first guests due to arrive early afternoon.
Hi all. Ok, so the leopard saga continues! Upon my first check in at new Galago this morning, Aubrey (guide at Galago) welcomed me with an armful of cushions from the stoep furniture. I thought he was re-decorating until he told me that Karula's tracks were all over the place and he had found 3 cushions in the bush, with a fourth still missing! Then I went off to meet William (tracker from Galago) who was cleaning the deck at G3 (old No. 8 of Vuyatela) and as he walked in, there was Karula's male cub fast asleep on sand where the swimming pool used to be! After a minute or so the cub woke up and jumped off the deck into the drainage line beneath the deck. Galago - we finished the lodge at 12h45 and it is looking a "feeling" beautiful. On my way home I thought I'd pop up to Sandy Patch and get my phone messages, and lo and behold the new guests - three vehicles - were heading towards me.... Yes, the new guests were on their way, a total of five minutes had passed since I stepped out of the lodge. How is that for timing! They stay at Galago regularly, and so far they like the camp and are very excited about Karula visiting their stoep.
We continue to have visits from our lodge leopards - slightly closer than would be preferred. This is partly because the fence we "ordered" has been very slow in completion. So in the mean time we have employed Handry Mathebula (ex guide at Vuyatela) to act as security, not only for the guests, but for Karula and boy cub as well. We would hate there to be a negative interaction between people and the leopards - no good for any person or animal concerned! I must add that non of the interactions have been hostile in any way, but we are concerned with Karula's lack of fear around people. I chatted to Tara Pirie a few days ago and she agrees that we should err on the side of caution. On an interesting note, she suggested that Karula's fondness of "stealing" cushions off the stoep and out of the lounge may indicate two interesting possible scenarios. 1) She is about to drop a litter nearby, or 2) she is ready to mate again. Either way, we are not fussy!