February was a very dry and hot month; this is somewhat unusual as we normally receive a few showers throughout the month. Towards the end of the month we did receive a couple of afternoon thunderstorms to relieve us from the heat.
The majority of resident species have moved out west to the short grass plains around Sabora, so these areas have been a main focus for our guides due to the high concentration of animals.
Lions: A total of 123 sightings seen this month.
The Butamtam Pride has had the arrival of three new cubs which are being seen along Chui Drainage. This area continues to a popular denning site for the females as it provides them with some great cover as well as plenty of water in the area.
The pride has been seen taking several buffaloes throughout the month which is somewhat unusual for our lions as they tend to prey on zebra, topi and wildebeest. The reason for this is that the majority of our resident plains game has moved out west leaving little for them to prey on in the central region, thus forcing them to take on buffalo as a food source, and doing so successfully.
The Nyasarori Pride has also had three new cubs, which were seen for the first time this month. They were estimated to be two to three weeks old, so the area was zoned as “no-go” to give the cubs the best chance of survival. We will start viewing them once they reach about three months.
The West Pride is moving along the Raho drainage, between Sabora and Balanities camps. With the abundance of plains game in the area, they do not have to move far for food.
Cheetah: What a great month for cheetah sightings! We had a total of 46 sightings.
Towards the beginning of the month Jimmy and his guests came across a female and her three tiny cubs, that were only about two weeks old. Again the area was zoned to allow them the best chance of making it. Then in the last week of the month we came across them again, all still looking cute and cuddly but still too young to view, but I did manage to get these shots of them.
During this time another of our guides, Francis, came across another female with two cubs of a similar age. It is so wonderful to see that the cheetah population is in such a great state at the moment.
Several different males have been seen across the concession, which have also been seen hunting and making kills numerous times. Their main prey species has been Thompson’s gazelles. On two occasions they were seen taking young warthogs.
Leopards: The Mkombre female and her youngster are still the stars of our leopard show. They are seen almost daily, and provide such memorable moments for many of our safari guests.
They are spending more and more time apart, and we feel it will not be long before they go on their own ways permanently.
Tulia and her cubs continue to been seen. The area they cover is well wooded so spotting them can be quite challenging.
The young male pictured above left is looking strong and healthy. Our resident males are seen but due to the area they cover it makes it quite difficult to locate them
Elephants: The majority of breeding herds have moved onto the Grumeti River area for permanent water but, with us receiving some rain late in the month, they have been seen more increasingly away from the river.