2011 Highlights – What’s your favorite?

We’ve put together some of our favorite updates from 2011. There is so much to choose from that it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few. We did our best though, and in the end arrived at these. Let us know which yours are too! It’s always interesting to see which stories resonated with our readers and why.

WE KICKED OFF THE YEAR WITH SOME GOOD NEWS

Ostrich Koppies female leopard and cub by Andrew Batchelor

Friday 21 January: We went to follow up on the impala carcass that we suspected might belong to the Ostrich Koppies female this morning, but it had been stolen and eaten by hyenas during the night. As we were leaving the area to follow up on the Styx male lion, we found the female leopard walking along the road. Suddenly a small bundle of fur popped out from the undergrowth. Having not seen the cub since the 21st of December – when its sibling got killed by the Styx pride – we had our doubts as to whether or not the little guy was still alive. Click here to read more.

INTRODUCING THE STYX CUBS

A proud Styx lioness with her new cubs by Rob Kenmuir

Monday 28 February: This morning provided us with what has to be the best sighting of the month. Seeing young animals for the first time never gets old, and it’s even more exciting when the babies in question are lion cubs. While following some lion tracks, one of the rangers reported seeing what appeared to be tracks of a number of young lions. And not five minutes later he made a statement that elicited smiles from everyone, “Stations there is one lioness with four very young cubs!” Click here to read more.

SHEM COMPION VISITS MALAMALA

Styx lioness and cub by Shem Compion

April: Shem Compion – founder of C4 Images & Safaris – visited MalaMala earlier this month to take photos of the lodge for its Head Office in Johannesburg. No visit to the reserve would be complete without a meander through the bush, and Shem made sure to indulge his passion for wildlife photography by sneaking off for a couple of game drives. Click here to read more.

ONE OF THE MANYELETHI MALES PROVES MAGNANIMOUS

Manyelethi male lion by Andrew Batchelor

Sunday 22 May: We found the injured Eyrefield male back at the kill and feeding again, when suddenly an almighty roar came from behind and the third Manyelethi male charged towards the buffalo kill. The younger lion managed to get himself positioned in such a way that he could protect himself just in the nick of time. The Manyelethi male descended on him with claws lashing out at any unprotected body parts, and tried to bite down on the back of the young male’s neck. Click here to read more.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BABY WILDLIFE

Styx lion cubs by Andrew Batchelor

Thursday 1 September: This week Video Thursday falls on the 1st of September, which also happens to be Spring Day here in South Africa. To celebrate the advent of the season, our friends over at Aquavision – South Africa’s Premier Wildlife Filmmakers – decided to pay homage to the new life that abounds in the bush at this time of year. Click here to read more.

THREE’S A CROWD

Airstrip male, Tamboti female and daughter of Kikilezi female by Ryan Driemeyer

Monday 17 October: We set out early this morning to follow up on the lovebirds, and discovered them still going at it just south of Main Camp. The Airstrip male then noticed something to the east and headed off in that direction. That something turned out to be the daughter of the Kikilezi female. Consumed by jealousy, the Tamboti female chased the intruder up a Leadwood tree. After a long stand-off, the couple settled down again at the base of the tree, although their mating frequency slowed to ten minute intervals. Clearly the Tamboti female was still a little miffed by what had just transpired. Click here to read more.

MALAMALA WELCOMES TWO NEW ADDITIONS

Jakkalsdraai female's cubs by Matt Meyer

Wednesday 30 November: We had an eventful morning despite the wet weather, but soon everyone’s rumbling tummies reminded us that it was time to return for breakfast. We were on the verge of heading back to camp when we discovered two leopard cubs! Although there was a marked difference in size between the two, they were definitely brother and sister. Seen at the Charleston River Rocks, in the vicinity of the Sand River, the little guys looked to be in the region of five months old. The slightly bigger male was also the bolder of the two, and opted to remain in full view atop his ‘rocky kingdom’ when we arrived. Click here to read more.

BABIES ABOUND

Hyena cubs by John Richardson

11-17 December: We’ve recently been privy to an amazing variety of young predator sightings on the property. These included the two Eyrefield lion cubs, two hyena cubs and five Black-backed jackal pups. Click here to read more.

The CyberDiaries will begin again on Tuesday, but perhaps this little trip down memory lane can suffice in the meantime. You can also revisit the many photos we have up on Facebookor Flickr.

Until next time,

The MalaMala Ranger Team.

PLEASE NOTE: Animals on MalaMala are named after their territories. This means that a) only the predators have been given names and b) we only know the animals according to the names we have given them, as they are based on the territories within MalaMala’s boundaries.

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