Nyakasanga Pack Update

August is the windy month, blowing last years leaves off the trees, where we change from the cool winter to the warm days of spring. We’ve experienced a few rough days due to the wind, which isn’t unusual at this time of year. After a couple of cold nights, winter is now definitely over and we are slowly entering the hot months of the year. Animal sightings have been good, not so many lions but the dogs have been very active as usual and the numbers of elephant are building up as the dry season progresses. As the days warm up more and more elephant are swimming out to the islands which creates the opportunity for a great canoe experience! We have a female leopard with two cubs which we have seen quite regularly, coming out just after dark to play.

The first day of August we were visiting the puppies at the den, there was only one caretaker and the pups were having lots of fun playing around the den

The adults did not come back from the hunt. We found them on the way back to camp resting 8km from the den. Having had an unsuccessful hunt they stayed out all day to hunt their way back to the den in the evening. Taku, the collared dog in the nyakasanga pack has dispersed to start her own pack, so we had no collar on this pack. This made for the perfect opportunity to get a collar on one of the dogs in the pack. Jiani, the alpha male, presented a good opportunity and we were able to get a dart him and get a collar on.

As we were walking one morning, we came across the wild dogs who were frantically making a noise. As we got closer to them, we heard an elephant rumbling and trumpeting, a leopard growling and the high-pitched distress call of the adult dogs. It looks like whilst the adults were out hunting a leopard came and killed a pup and hung it in a tree. We can only guess that a caretaker was present with the pups and immediately chased the leopard up the tree. As the rest of the pack came in from the hunt they chased the leopard away into a herd of elephant, hence the commotion. We had 11 pups, now we are sadly down to 10.

We have had another crew in to film the dogs – offspring productions, from Bristol. This series is to be aired by Sky in the UK in February.

Wildlife Update

Tusker has spent a lot of time in camp this month and lots of our guests had the unique opportunity to spend some quality time with him. You rarely get this close to a wild elephant. His leg is getting better and better and we are confident that by the end of the year he will have totally recover from his injury

We were able to complete our elephant collaring exercise, with the National Parks support and the expertise of AWARE Trust Zimbabwe. Tusker, Grumpy and Fred, together with Boswell now all have collars. This is to protect them from being hunted in neighboring hunting areas like Mudzi was last year. Hopefully, a poacher will think twice about shooting a collared elephant in fear that it is being monitored and a reaction can be sent in quickly to a “dead” signal on the collar.

We were lucky enough this month to accompany the AWARE Trust Zimbabwe vets, Keith and Lisa, when they went to treat a wounded elephant outside of the National Park.

We found a dead pangolin at the dog den last week. It had been released in the park two days earlier after being recovered from poachers the week before.The poor thing had septicemia and died in the termite mound we use as a perch to watch the dogs. Again the vets from aware were in camp and we were able to do a full post-mortem. Amazing to see the tongue is 18 inches long and is sheathed in a pouch which extends all the way back to the small intestines!

We were lucky enough this month to accompany the AWARE Trust Zimbabwe vets, Keith and Lisa, when they went to treat a wounded elephant outside of the National Park.

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