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Everything posted by egilio

  1. I lived in Bozeman for 2,5 years. While I did go to Yellowstone in winter, I didn't go as often as I wanted. There's only one main road open to cars, but the cross-country skiing is really nice! You can book trips with the snowcoaches but I never did that (being a grad student on a grad student budget). The best times I had in Yellowstone were in winter (close sightings of moose and martens while cross country skiing) and spring. In spring there's actually a period (in both Yellowstone and Glacier) that the roads have been made snowfree, but they're not open to cars yet. So you can bike, without any cars around. The weather is hit or miss though, as there can still be snowstorms.
  2. I stayed at Nanzhila once and didn't see elephants there. In fact, I saw lots and lots of elephant sign in the southern sector, but only once saw one young animal which shouldn't have been alone run across the road quite far ahead of me. What I remember from around Nanzhila was that reedbuck almost seemed more abundant than impala! I really love the diversity in Kafue, it's such a great place, and the potential is even bigger. I've seen lots of grysbok in the Luangwa valley. I'm sure some of you must have seen them there too!
  3. Lovely report so far! Was the snared elephant (you can see the snare behind its leg) reported? I wound like that can heal if treated, but will be fatal if it isn't treated. In you picture of a mixed flock of birds there are red-billed teals too!
  4. Lovely photos again! Looking forward to the rest of the report!
  5. Great to see a picture of Luambe! Do you have more? Years ago we took a collar off him. The collar was put on him during leopard research in Luambe NP. It was supposed to be a drop off collar but never dropped off, and he moved to South Luangwa, beyond the reach of the research study in Luambe. They tried for a bit to de-collar him, but then the study ended. We (ZCP, SLCS with great help from Shenton Safaris) set up a trap and were lucky that he was the first animal in there, on the second night. As leopards keep growing throughout their lives it was really necessary to take the collar off as it was way too tight. Collars on cats always look tight, because they have so much loose skin around their neck and the neck is wider than the head, but in him it was really too tight. I've been following the Kaingo blogs and see his name mentioned often, but never saw a picture of him anymore. Would you maybe have a picture of him from the side?
  6. African Parks is planning to move ~500 elephants from Liwonde NP and Majete GR, where elephant densities are high, to Nkhotakota NP, where elephants are almost completely wiped out, in Malawi. Read more about it here. Some experts are concerned about animal welfare issues. What are your thoughts on this project?
  7. As a reminder, he did have a permit to hunt a lion, but this permit was for a different area. The area did not have a quota for lions to be hunted, and thus, Cecil was illegally hunted.
  8. Lovely sighting of the Spice boys! And by the looks of it you did indeed beat the other cars to the sighting! @amybatt @wilddog it's not the darker one who is the odd one, it's the lighter one, ginger! Garlic is just a normal coloured lion, ginger isn't. The contrast might make Garlic appearing darker than you'd expect. Ginger doesn't have any black pigment (look at his nose and tail tip for example), a condition as far as I know only known from 1 lion currently alive, him! It is true that the extent of black hairs in manes varies from male to male, and it is thought this is related to testosterone levels. All males (except white male lions, and Ginger) have black hairs, some more than others. The size of manes also varies, with generally the ones in colder areas being more extensive (like the Kalahari or Busanga) and in with longer hairs in more open areas (again Kalahari, Serengeti, Busanga). While it has been shown that females seem more attracted to larger manes and darker manes, it's not clear if those males are the 'dominant' ones. Adult males are dominant over adult females, and between males there might be dominance, but with lots of prey and many females to attend to this might not actually mean much in the sense of more feeding and breeding.
  9. What a great report! Looking forward to some tortoises!
  10. I should explain it better. Of course he would usually switch off his car. But he noticed that when would switch the engine on to re-position, the leopard would move. Or at night drives they sometimes switch on to make sure the spotlight isn't draining the battery. He noticed that those were actually the times the leopards would make a move and were often successful. So since then he refuses to switch on his engine to re-position even if guests request it (yes, that can cause issues too). When he sees a leopard he parks and that's it if potential prey is nearby and the leopard is interested in it. It happens regularly that leopard stalk behind and even under cars. A great experience for tourists, not so much for the targeted pukus and impalas. South Luangwa has many great guides and I know many of them, and this one is definitely in my top 5.
  11. Ginger! He's a special lion to me, first saw him as a cub in October 2008 and immediately recognized that he was a special lion! About vehicles at sightings. Yes there is this 'rule' in SLNP, but it's more of a gentlemens agreement than a law. Actually, it matters much less if there are many cars at a sighting of sleeping lions then at a sighting of a hunting leopard. Both prey and leopard might get distracted by the cars, and leopards actually often use the cover of the cars (sound and physical) and thus the game between predator and prey is influenced by the cars, which it shouldn't. I know of one guide who told me saw many leopard kills, until he got the idea that the leopards might be using the noise of the car as a cover to stalk closer. Since then he would always switch off the engine immediately whenever he saw a leopard hunting. He never saw a kill happening anymore. PS: the correct name for the chestnut bellied kingfisher is grey-headed kingfisher.
  12. Bummer, but seeing a young lioness at that time fits very well with her estimate age (from footage in 2005 when she was in a prime age).
  13. She was a special lion indeed. Purring outside my tent from time to time, sometimes lying around in camp when we were cooking dinner at night. And when you would shine a torchlight in her direction she would roll on her back. When additional lions were introduced this behaviour became less and less and she spend more and more time with her own kind, the way it was supposed to be. She lived a long life for a lion, but it's still sad that the last lion of Liuwa left. @Geoff Do you have any pictures of Lady from 2002? Or anybody in your group? I think there were 3 lionesses in 2003, but not sure if I remember that correctly.
  14. I think there's one record of a northern carmine bee-eater in Zambia (the one in Luangwa). There actually is a book called 'Fieldguide of birds found in Zambia which are not found in Southern Africa' : Here
  15. I'm sure they have a safe distance, but this distance is much shorter for a sit and wait hunter versus a courser. You'll often see impala actually approaching a leopard or lion, and keep their eyes on them. But for wild dogs they usually run much earlier. In this paper we measured vigilance, and not flight (which obviously is also a risk effect). There are interesting questions in the whole predator prey system which we only start to understand now. But if you think about it, both parties have been around each other for a long time, and very tuned in to each other, picking up clues we are not aware of yet. I once for example followed 2 wild dogs chasing 2 oribis. For several 100 meters they were right on the heels of 1 oribi, while the other was maybe 100 meters ahead and 100 meters to the left. Suddenly the dogs just switched to the oribi which was further away. Me and my colleague wondered what was going on, they nearly had this oribi and now they went for one which was much further away! They managed to bring down the other oribi and pulled out a fully grown calf, it was actually bleating when they pulled it out (and then was snatched away by a hyena). Clearly the dogs somehow picked up that they had a better chance on taking down the other oribi, something we had completely missed.
  16. @wilddog Thanks for posting this, I think you posted it within 1-2 hours of it being published! @Towlersonsafari Interesting questions. It has been theorized that sit-and-wait hunters induce a higher non-consumptive-effect than coursing predators on the basis that if you encounter a cue of a sit-and-wait hunter, that should be highly indicative of danger. Whereas for a coursing predator who (more) actively searches for prey, the presence of a cue might not be such a good indicator of the predator actually being present as they roam widely. In this paper we measured vigilance as the risk response, but there are other ways prey allocate energy when encountering predators (flight for example). It would be interesting to compare fecundity rates of different prey animals in small game reserves which are similar in size and located close to each but have, or don't have, predators. The lion pride in Liuwa might be new, but lions have never been really absent, and during our study the lions were mostly together in one unit. The reaction of wildebeests to 1 lion is probably not much different to reaction of encountering multiple lions (apart from that they might be easier to detect). The paper is temporarily available at the following link:
  17. Back in July/August 2008 an usual lion was born in South Luangwa NP. He was one of 5 cubs born around the same time in the Luwi pride. Some of the others drew the attention of some lion experts because of their unusual high amount of spots (one can be seen in the lower left hand of the photo), but they ignored this lion which I think is much more special! He was very lightly colored, making him stand out immediately. What was up with this lion. Some thought he was an albino, but he clearly has pigment (orange colored, not white, no red eyes). So what is it? Clearly there's a reduction or even complete absence of dark/black pigments. A condition caused by erythrism, which is either an increase in the production of red pigments, or a reduction of it (and anerythristic when there is a complete absence of it). A rare condition in lions, this is the only lion I know of which has this condition. However, Robin Pope mentioned seeing a lioness like that in 80's in the same region of South Luangwa. In his case it meant that the black behind the ears and on the tailtip appears orange, and his toe pads are pink, as can be seen in the following picture. More on this condition, with a leopard as example, can be read here. He grew up well, and turned out to stand his ground quite well, seen swiping and growling at the adults whenever they were feeding on a carcass. However, he did seem to have some trouble with his eyes, possibly caused by the fact that the skin around his eyes is lighter than usual, causing more light to enter his eyes. But he did well, and out of the 5 cubs born in the same period in the pride, him and his brother survived the first year and grew up into good looking sub-adults. But in the second half of 2011 he did what most 3 year old male lion do, he dispersed from his natal pride. I last saw him in June 2011, in those pictures you can clearly see how different he looks. After he dispersed sightings of him became rare and far in between. In 2012 there was one sighting, and there were a few other sightings from walking safaris mentioning seeing a very shy pale male lion. But in the second half of 2015 he showed up again in the main game area of South Luangwa, however, still very few sightings. But yesterday somebody posted pictures of him in the facebook group Wildlife of Zambia. Seen over Christmas, mating with a female, in the area he was born in (but which is now held by another pride). I've asked permission to post the pictures here, but until I get the permission I will just link to the facebook page here. Wildlife of Zambia Wildlife Extra also reported a few times on him in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
  18. The title pretty much says it all. I have my thoughts about it, but I rather let some other people first dwell on this. Should conservation be approached as a luxury or a necessity?
  19. Thanks for your answer @@inyathi it would be interesting to hear from people in the future, about where Zakoumas abundant wetland birds breed. In Luangwa and Liuwa waterbirds breed in the wet season, with the chicks fledging towards the end of the wet season. Are kudu in Zakouma scarce? I don't remember seeing many pictures of them?.
  20.[uNIQID] And on the AP website:
  21. Have you tried various Africa/insect/creepy-crawlies facebook groups?
  22. Excuse my ignorance. There are incredible numbers of birds in Zakouma. Do cranes, pelicans, yellow-billed stork and marabou storks breed in the park too?
  23. A wishlist...These are a view areas which spring to mind. The WAP area (Pendjair-Arly-W) in Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. Or any subset of it. Niokolo-Koba in Senegal (small populations of elephants, lions, giant sable and wild dogs left). Dinder NP in Sudan seems to hold reasonable numbers of animals, Manovo-Gounda-Saint-Flores NP in CAR might hold viable animal populations, some area in South Sudan are very much worth protecting. Basically any area with wildlife left in central and western Africa is worth protecting from an animal conservation point of view. Large areas in south-east Angola could prove to be incredible wildlife areas if given the chance to recover (Luiana, Mucosso, Luengue, Longa Mavinga), Cameia NP could be a fantastic destination but I'm not sure if there are any viable mammal populations left. Cangadala and/or Luando are worth protecting just because these are the only areas where small populations of one of the rarest antelopes are left (giant sables). And Kafue NP in Zambia could benefit from increased funding.
  24. The North of The Netherlands is sometimes hit by earthquakes for which there is considerable evidence that they're linked to gas production. However, those earthquakes are usually hardly felt, of magnitude <3. Same in areas in the US. An earthquake of this magnitude, 6.5, is considerable. To link that to fracking, I'd say, is a stretch. Is there a lot of fracking in that region? Have there been lots of little quakes previously?
  25. Wonderful images! In the first b/w elephant picture the scale seems to have been lost, making it look like a miniature elephant. I love it.

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