Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ranger diaries June 2012

Winter has arrived; the grass is dry and shining golden in the warm winter sun. The trees are losing their leaves as the mornings and evenings are pretty chilly, offering a crystal clear sky. This is the perfect time to sit in front of a cosy fire and relax with a hot amarula-coffee or a glass of your favourite red wine after an exciting game drive.
The animals are enjoying the warm rays of the rising sun and are seen coming out into the open more often. This gives us even better sightings of the shyer species like the eland, oribi, duiker and genets.

We started our block-burns this week. This year the Reserve Management aims to burn about 40% of the reserve. This encourages new grass to grow stronger and faster and aids in riding of ticks and bush encroachments. Fires occurring naturally in the savannah are normally started by lightening (we prefer it a bit more controlled).
Controlled fires are a very important process in conservation. Old layers of grass and plant matter decompose very slowly, preventing the growth of new vegetation. The fire removes all the old, matter called ‘moribund’ and gives nutrients back to the ground in form of ash. This helps to strengthen the growth of high quality grasses and plants.

Our three sub-adult lions (now 2 years old) have finally gone off on their own and hardly ever meet up with their mom and dad. On the rare occasions that they do meet, the young males find themselves being challenged by their Father. The young female has turned out to be an excellent huntress to her impatient brothers, who are often seen messing up her hunts on a regular basis. It’s not surprising that she is going off on her own more often, leaving the two brothers to look after themselves.

The four new lion cubs (born in December 2011) are doing well and are growing up fast. Sightings have improved considerably as mom is not hiding them away. The four are quite adventurous and love playing and investigating around our game viewers.

The Elephant herd has migrated to the south of the reserve. We have had great sightings of the youngsters playing right here at Springbok Lodge. It is too cute to watch them pushing each other around; bathing in the sand and mud while dad (BFE) tries to keep an eye on his females as well as keep the 4 young bulls in place.

The buffalo herd has got a brand new addition - a new calf born about 3 weeks ago! We have seen the buffalo herd together with the Elephants. Some of the buffalo tried to ‘play’ with the “big grey” things, but were put into place very quickly by the elephants.

We look forward to sharing our amazing ‘backyard’ with you on your next visit.

The Springbok Lodge Rangers: Lee, Ruan, Stephanie and Nicole