Author Archives Vanessa

May 8, 2010

The Lion & Gemsbok

Nobody had seen our young male lion for several days, which is very unusual for this cat. With this in mind I set out early determined to find the king of the jungle. After an hour or so I had seen neither hind nor hair of this lion, and to be honest I was beginning to give up hope (I know, I´m not the most patient of rangers).

Suddenly I noticed something rather peculiar. A lone male gemsbok was staring intently at a rock, so focused was the gemsbok that he didn´t even seem to notice the approach of my vehicle, something that would normally send these antelope skittering off into the bush. “Very strange indeed”, I thought to myself as I readied my binoculars. Looking closely at this animal I could clearly see it was in terrible condition, skinny as a rake and with a face covered in ticks, I think a stiff wind could have blown him over, but none of this explained his odd behavior.

As I scanned to the left I got my answer, the so called rock was hairy, it was in fact no rock, but our male lion that I had been looking for, and he was a mere five meters or so away from his target.

I was very excited, this had to be a guaranteed kill. What I hadn´t taken into account was a combination of two things, the sheer bravery of this decrepit gemsbok, and the fact that this lion was completely ineffective in catching this easy target, if he were human he would definitely have been a vegetarian.

The gemsbok had clearly seen the lion´s clumsy approach and they were now in the middle of a stand off and for how long this had been going on for I don´t know. The gemsbok seemed to know that if he ran he was dead, and the lion was clearly aware that even in his prey´s weakened state a frontal assault would result in death or serious injury via those huge horns. Stalemate.

The lion would make a halfhearted move, only for it to be met by two razor sharp horns. For hours this went on. At one point the gemsbok seemed to click on that this lion was not the real deal and just started grazing (much needed nutrients). “Now, get him!” I found myself saying, but the lion did nothing. Then the lion appeared to get bored and just started rolling in the grass like a domestic house cat enjoying a sunny spot in the garden. “Run away” I was saying to the Gemsbok, determined to see an end to this epic stand off, but nothing. For three and a half hours I sat there and watched this display of biblical style bravery versus amateurish hunting, but alas, I had to leave.

I was stiff and sore from sitting at a funny angle in the Land Rover, plus I did actually have some work to do that day (I know, it´s a hard life eh?).

I never did get to find out exactly how the scenario played out, but there are two things I do know, eight hours later they were seen, still locked in conflict, and, that to this day that skinny old gemsbok is still alive and kicking, roaming alone in the veld around Fynbos Camp. I take my hat off to him; I don´t think I could have faced off a lion for eight hours or more. Well bloody done!

And Mr. Lion, I have this to say to you, stick around those females, you’re going to need them.

Read More
November 26, 2009

A flurry of offspring from our wildlife

As we enter the summer season, we have been welcomed by a flurry of offspring from a wide range of our wildlife. These progeny are a great indicator that the introduced animals have established themselves on the reserve. We are also encouraged by the increase in population and behavioural development of the species that were always present on the reserve such as the bushbuck, Grey Rheebok, and Caracal to name a few.

Our pride of lion have developed themselves into a successful hunting unit. The initial separation of the male from the females was temporary as sightings are rare without the complete pride. We continue to monitor the predator prey dynamic and are excited to report indisputable evidence of leopard throughout the property.

Our expansion program has now come to fruition with the completion of the external fences and the current dissembling of the fence dividing the two properties. The timing of this was perfect with the late rains stimulating growth in this sweet veld region creating natural movement of wildlife into this new area. We have successfully relocated one of our black rhino into this area according to plan as it is a more suitable habitat for this highly selective browser species. The inclusion of this area has added numerous species to both our mammal and bird list with the guides excitedly reporting a first sighting of the Knysna Lourie and breeding pairs of Klipspringer.

We have established a wonderful team of field guides whose enthusiasm and contributions towards conservation on Gondwana have benefited us all. They are applying their individual passions to better the reserve, such as implementing our first bird hide, Children’s Junior Ranger program and wildlife monitoring. Together with our guides, guests and owners have been enjoying rare sightings of honey badger, aardvark, aardwolf and bushpig. Take a moment to read a few of their ranger diaries now found on the website.

Our reserve manager, Joe Erasmus continues to develop Gondwana and is establishing the implementation of our environmental management policies. This summer will complete the second phase of our annual burning program which forms a critical component of our veld management. We are very excited to initiate a large scale alien removal effort on the reserve starting this November. This will be implemented in conjunction with a rehabilitation program for erosion control and habitat development.

I enjoy seeing you all on the reserve and hope you can visit us again soon to experience what has become a world class establishment.

Mark Rutherfoord, Director
Read More
July 12, 2009

University Research Study on Gondwana’s Elephant Population

We are proud to announce that Gondwana has entered into a formal research program together with the University of Port Elizabeth (UPE) looking at the spatial/ecological utilization of our elephant. Gondwana offers the unique opportunity for scientists to study these incredible species within a fynbos biome. Such a study has never been done before and all parties both private and government are extremely excited about the pending results. These results will be used by conservation authorities as guidelines within the Western Cape to help structure better and more realistic elephant management plans.

Our lions have been an extremely exciting addition to the reserve. The introduction into their boma and bonding process went according to plan and their release onto the reserve has been nothing but remarkable. They have been seen making their own kills of both Gemsbok and Black Wildebeest and seem to have adapted quite comfortably to their new terrain and surroundings.

There is much we still want to achieve on the reserve and hope to report on new game drive roads next quarter as well as to the changes in the wildlife movement and habitat utilization due to the release of the lions.”

Mark Rutherfoord, Director
Read More
Page 21 of 21« First...10...1718192021
  • Affiliations Boutique Hotels Preffered Hotels Group