A number of leopard sightings in the past year have contributed significantly to the continued improvement of leopard habituation at Singita Grumeti. Our recent, most noteworthy sighting yet, was that of a female leopard stalking and killing a male impala west of Faru Faru in the late afternoon, witnessed by Field Guide, Jeremiah and his guests. This is a clear indicator that leopards in the reserve have become more accepting of our safari-traversing activities and that they have slowly reverted to the type of hunting behaviour which is typical of leopards (for the first time in approximately 50 years). Leopards characteristically hunt both during the day and at night. However, in the seven years prior to 2003, before Grumeti became a photographic safari destination, it was in fact a hunting area. It was then that leopards in this area adapted to hunting only at night when the potential human threat was not around. Until almost a year ago, witnessing a leopard kill on the reserve was completely unheard of! Fortunately, these big cats are beginning to feel more comfortable and the kill that Jeremiah and his guests saw, was in fact the third kill we have recorded this year!
Download the full wildlife report here: Singita Grumeti Wildlife Report December 2014
This month I witnessed how predators are so incredibly good at assessing a situation, weighing up the potential benefits of a hunt and analysing the potential costs or risks at the same time.
We set off under the cover of darkness in the early morning and on to one of my favourite drainage lines to look for lions. As it began to get light I caught site of the Butamtam lionesses and their youngsters. We gently approached the lionesses and then switched the engine off and watched. One of the more mature lionesses, the daughter of ‘Mama Scar’, was busy nursing her five youngsters. This is interesting as lionesses only possess four teats.
I was out one morning looking for elephants as my guests were still hoping for further interaction with these special creatures. What we came across that day, we could not have prepared for – it was simply magical.