December Game Report

Rhino and elephant by Lucky Makukula

Once a month the rangers compile a comprehensive game report summarising the activities of each member of the MalaMala 7 (Big 5 plus cheetah and wild dog). As our posts most often feature the movements and behaviours of the cats and dogs (at MalaMala, it literally does rain “Cats and Dogs” …. sorry – couldn’t resist…..) – there are also another three members who need mention.

Namely the rhino, buffalo and elephant.

So once a month we will be posting a brief summary of the previous month, so that those of you with a predisposition towards the mammoth mammals will also get your fix. Keep your eyes peeled.

We’re a little late this month (given that it’s a new initiative), but we’ll normally post this report within the first few days of the new month.

For the full unabridged scientific reports, we will include a link to the report on the MalaMala website. HINT – Those of you that preferred the original wildlife diary posts (pre-Social Media) will probably love these reports.

CAPE BUFFALO

Herds of buffalo were difficult to find this month. With the control burn on Flockfield, the large herd moved in, but drifted between the Kruger National Park and the Windmill area. This made it pretty difficult to guess where they were going to be at any given point. “Dugga boys” (small herds of old male buffalo) were abundant as always, and the males around the airstrip provided endless hours of viewing as they quietly went about they retired lives. We saw a small herd coming from the Kruger National Park and into the northeastern parts of MalaMala. This is the same herd that the Styx pride managed to grab a meal from. But as is the case with small herds, they move great distances, so it wasn’t long before they’d moved north away from us.

RHINO

In sharp contrast to the buffalo, rhino were everywhere. We literally couldn’t turn a corner without bumping into them. And with the burnt area flush with greenery, it made finding these large grey beasts even easier. Short, sweet and green grass is like a magnate for rhinos, and they congregated in great numbers to feed on the lush smorgasbord. It was nice to see that there were some newborn calves, and the old individuals were also still around. All in all the rhino provided us with some excellent viewing this month.

ELEPHANT

Herds came and went as the weather changed. When it was hot and sunny the elephant herds lined the banks of the Sand River, but as soon as the dark clouds rolled in they disappeared, seemingly into thin air. And then once the storm passed, the elephants would return again. We spent many enjoyable hours watching the largest of the African land mammals playing in the river and rolling in the muddy pans. It is a unique experience indeed, to see a six ton bull squealing with delight as he flops into the river.

Total sightings for the month

Elephant: 113
Rhino: 92
Buffalo: 49

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