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Found 10 results

  1. Just back yesterday from our sixth safari. Definitely the best ever - most wildlife - first lion hunts, youngest lion cubs at play, caracal close-up in the Crater, the migration arrives, and much much more..... Coming soon - the trip report...................
  2. We recently returned from a 9 day/8 night trip to Tanzania in February 2017. We have had the pleasure and good fortune for this to be our 8th trip to the continent, starting with our honeymoon years ago. Our honeymoon was both a blessing and a curse. A curse in the sense that once we visited we found out we are like the many people who talked about how it gets into your blood, and how no trip will ever compare. When planning every subsequent vacation, we ask ourselves, will this live up to Africa?? In most cases we believe the answer is no, and we find ourselves facing the large expense to return. I can say, however, that we have never returned and thought that it wasn't worth every penny. Retirement is going to have to wait!! As many of you also know, the blessing of visiting Africa takes many forms. Starting with the obvious, the beautiful landscapes, the amazing wildlife that never fails to amazing and bewilder, exposure to new and wonderful foods. The understanding of new cultures, viewpoints, ways of life. Making new friends, experiencing the mishaps that inevitably occur and somehow surviving without your "stuff" for a few days. Learning to appreciate how lucky you are to have the things you have and how random life is that you were born where you were. Noticing the subtle and larger changes you make to your life after returning- maybe wasting less, helping more, just appreciating the natural world. But always returning home wondering how, when, and where we'll be able to get back!
  3. ~ This November, 2016 research article, published in the special issue of CATNews concerning Catis in Iran, is a comprehensive survey of the current status of caracal throughout Iran, where it's widely distributed. A distribution map is provided, as well as field data of caracal in various provinces, and updated information about behavior, prey, threats and protection measures.
  4. Know these cats are very elusive, but where is the best place to see them? Any replies are greatly appreciated!
  5. Hi all, I mentioned a little while ago that I had come across some interesting articles about where to see one of the most endangered mammals in the world, the Riverine rabbit. Well I have contacted the Endangered Wildlife Trust and they have responded with the following advice: "Hi Jo Many thanks for your email 28 March and your interest in Riverine Rabbit conservation. The list of places to see Riverine Rabbits in the link you sent is quite complete. My suggestions would be to try the Sanbona Reserve as we have done quite a bit of research with them and they have an excellent idea of where their rabbits are, and also offer night drives. In terms of a farmland experience in the Karoo, the Dunedin Riverine Rabbit Retreat is an excellent option as well, we have worked with the landowner who is an avid Riverine Rabbit conservationist and a member of the Sak River Conservancy. With regards to accompanying a researcher, if you contact us nearer to the time when you are in SA again, we could see what our schedule is and maybe try arrange a day out in the field if we have field work on the go then. However, this would strictly be determined on our time and availability. Note also that our home base is mostly in Loxton in the Northern Cape (+-7hrs from Cape Town) - although we do also work out of Cape Town in Sanbona from time to time. Please feel free to contact me on this email address once you have travel plans, and let's see what we can do. In the meantime, in case you have not already viewed our website, our news page has links to archive newsletters with lots of information in them on the habitat restoration work and camera trap studies work we do. Kind Regards Bonnie Schumann Senior Field Officer Endangered Wildlife Trust So I have sent an enquiry to Sanbona as a first step. Has anyone visited this reserve? They are part of the shamwari group. They are a big five reserve and seems cheetah are seen quite often along with all the usual game and some dry ecosystem game like gemsbok and springbok too which I haven't seen in the wild before. They do also have white lions. Not that this is a draw for me! More interesting is that they say they have aardvark, aardwolf and brown hyena on their reserve. My enquiry to them also asks about frequency of sightings. I haven't looked into the other place mentioned yet. Does anyone have any suggestions for other places to look into nearby to either of these suggested areas nd/or an comment as having visited either, for any of the other mammals of interest that I have tagged in the post? I know some other members have expressed an interest in this potential trip. So please let me know if you might like to join me and what would be on your list? I have no particular dates in mind for this trip but it won't be any time within the next few months I wouldn't think.. Regards Jo
  6. Hi all, As I'm starting to plan my South African trip in more detail, I'm wondering what camps offer the most rewarding night drives, in terms of species "frequently" seen, that are not seen usually during the day. Specifically, I'm interested in: Serval, Civet, Honey Badger, Side-striped Jackal, Caracal, Aardvark, Pangolin (I know the last three are almost never seen). Basically, if I had to decide between night drives from Skukuza vs. Pretoriuskop, which would you recommend? What about Satara vs. Olifants vs. Mopani? Note that I'm a lot more interested in seeing nocturnal species that you don't see during the day, than I am in seeing leopards and lions... Any and all input is welcome. Thanks in advance!
  7. Firstly I would like to thank those who have made me feel welcome with their kind messages. The one from "Caracal" made me realise how easy it is to get caught up in the BIG picture of Africa. Big game, big scenery etc, that I overlooked the game that now really gets me excited, the little guys. So, as it was Caracal who reminded me of this fact it is only right I make amends and start with this most beautiful of cats. All my sightings have occurred in Kenya. My first sighting was in Samburu National reserve in northern Kenya in 1982. It was a brief sighting as the Caracal dashed across the road in front of us & disappeared into the long grass. It was all I could do to capture the moment in my memory before our guide was shouting excitedly, "did you see it, did you see it". Thankfully, yes we did. A few years later in 1986 we saw our second in the Masai Mara, but again it was a brief encounter as the Caracal moved through the red oat grass on the Mara plains, it's head & back breaking cover every now and then before it vanished. It was in 1989 when the first proper sighting occurred. On this occasion we were staying at Salt lick lodge in Tsavo west, a lodge with a very productive water hole, especially at night. It had been nine years since we started coming to Kenya and I was still as excited as when we first came, I still do not want to miss anything. So, if in the night I awake or need to get up, I always check if there is anything happening outside. On this occasion our room overlooked the water hole and on a clear moonlit night I was stunned when I looked out and saw two Caracal walking past the waterhole. In my excitement I called out to my wife, but at 3 am this was not appreciated. I watched them until they disappeared into the African night. Phew! as you can imagine I did not get much more sleep that night with a game drive at 6.30 am. It would be nine years before our next sighting, and this took place while we were driving back from Amboseli on a track that was a short cut to the main road. Like our first sighting the Caracal came out of nowhere and dashed across the road in front of us, but this time it stopped and looked at us for a few moments and then melted into the dense thicket. Another ten years passed before we saw number six. This time we were on a game drive in Tsavo East. Driving along a road which ran adjacent to the Galana river we noticed some movement in the grass that led down to the river. Just as we stopped the Caracal came out of the long grass, and taking no notice of us, walked purposefully along the edge of the grass for about ten meters before vanishing back into the vegetation. Our last sighting, number seven, was on a night drive on Ol Pejeta while staying at Sweetwaters tented camp. We had just seen a Cheetah kill a Thompson Gazelle and were driving away when the Caracal suddenly appeared in the spotlight. It weaved in & out of the spotlights beam before going beyond the spotlights range. Sadly I have no photos. I was always afraid that by the time I had got hold of my camera the Caracal would be gone and I would have missed all these magical moments that I have just shared with you. AJ
  8. I finished Part 2 of my October 2015 Trip Report a little sooner than expected, mainly because I had previously processed more images that I remembered. So join me for cats, cats and more cats… The TR continues here
  9. Hi everyone! This is my first post, so it's kind of an introduction and a question at the same time. I've been a wildlife enthusiast my whole life, and a mammal watcher specifically, though I enjoy a variety of animals including birds, herps and interesting fish (sharks, rays, seahorses - though I have yet to see the latter 2) I just joined this forum because finally I'm going to venture into Africa with my family! So hopefully I will be more active in the forum as I continue to explore this amazing sounding continent. We are going to Tanzania in February and are putting together an itinerary, comparing a few options and tour operators, by of course emphasizing that we want to see a variety of animals including the rare ones. Apart from the "Big 5" which every tour company puts tramendous effort into showing you, there are other animals you see like Cheetah, foxes, warthogs, giraffs, etc.. But then there are the ones that you don't get to see because they are so rare and sometimes elusive or just small so you miss them. I am probably interested in many of those animals as much as I am in the big 5! In addition to the big 5, if I came back with pictures of genets, civets, a caracal, a serval, an aardvark, an aardwolf, a honey badgers, wild dogs, a pangolin, striped hyenas, galagos etc. I'd be ecstatic. But that being said, I know I'm not going to see most of these, maybe with the exception of genets, civets and galagos during a night drive and a serval with some luck. So I'm making an effort to research where some of the other ones can be found, especially the high "wants" on the wish list, namely caracal and pangolin. Does anyone know any recent / current information that would help me in my quest? Our itinerary includes: 1 day at Arusha NP 1 day at Tarangire 1 Day at lake Manyara (and a night drive) 1 full day at Ngorongoro (plus a day of getting there) 2 full days at Ndutu/Southern serengeti 2 Full days in Central Serengeti 1 day at Lake Eyasi (this is less for wildlife and more for culture) I definitely want to add a 2nd night drive somewhere, and looking at Manyara Ranch as an option for one of the first 2 nights. Is there any place where Caracal or Pangolin have been sighted recently, sighted with "more frequency than normal" recently, a waterhole they've come to visit repeatedly, a current den, or anything of that nature? As for some of the other species I listed: Manyara ranch night game drive seems like it would have actually decent chances for aardwolf AND aardvark. I've heard of a person who saw 3 aardvarks there in 1 night, and another who saw 2 aardwolves, a porcupine, and several genets and civets on one night. Kisima Ngeda property on Lake Eyasi apparently has an aardvark currently living on the campground (confirmation?) and a den of striped hyena behind some rocks on a lookout platform or something like that? Those would add so much to my family and I's experience while on the safari. Any similar tips about caracal, pangolin, or any other species I listed would be extremely appreciated. Thanks in advance!!! Tomes
  10. RIPPING THE HEART OUT OF CONSERVATION On Thursday 25th October the Wildlife Forum met in Cape Town to consider a Protocol which is nothing short of a declaration of war on our wildlife. Small livestock farmers have complained that their livelihoods are threatened by stock losses caused by predators, mainly caracals and jackals. They say that their only defence is to launch a predator extermination program.. Conservationist respond by pointing out:- 3]1. That the farmers’ refusal to employ herders or to kraal their animals at night is the real cause of stock losses. Poor animal husbandry is to blame. Farmers throw their sheep out into the mouths of predators, leaving them unprotected day and night out in the veld. 3]2. Extermination of wildlife will not solve the farmers’ problems. These methods have all been tried before and have failed. The report by Professor Bothma, commissioned by Cape Nature, examined the infamous “Oranjejag” where a similar predator elimination campaign was conducted in the Free State. That slaughter by hunt clubs over a period of years killed 87,000+ wild animals - of which more than 60,000 were harmless non-target species, such as Cape Foxes. 3]3. Bothma points out that more jackals and caracals were killed in the last year of the Orangjejag than ever before. In other words, the mass slaughter certainly devastated wildlife populations - but did not eliminate the clever predators. 3]Unfortunately, the Bothma Report was only completed after government had already decided to give in to the farmers’ demands. Citing food security as an overriding factor, government pressed Cape Nature to sign a Protocol with farmers’ representatives, permitting livestock farmers to form district-wide hunt clubs and to use gin traps, guns, poison and even helicopters to assault the province’s predators. One would expect that the Bothma Report would have knocked out the Protocol and saved our wildlife from persecution but politicians everywhere are more interested in votes that in science. If government does not care about the science, perhaps it will care about losing votes. South Africans who care about their wildlife heritage should talk to their MP’s. (There is indeed a threat to food security in S.A. but it is not caused by jackal and caracals. In my humble opinion it is caused instead by political ideology and populist demand - the national government’s Land Reform Programme.) Our wildlife heritage is under threat. Government intends to implement the Protocol notwithstanding the scientific evidence that this will impact biodiversity out of all proportion to any temporary respite for farmers. The message from Professor Bothma is that both sides must compromise if we are to reach practical solutions. The conservationists publish horror photos of the injuries caused to wild animals by gin traps. The farmers respond with horror photos of stock animals attacked by predators, including gruesome pictures of calves being eaten alive as they are being born. Gin traps. If we had been given the time to question the farmers’ representatives more closely, I would have put the following ideas to them:- 3]1. We ban the manufacture, import, sale, possession and use of all leg-hold traps, soft and hard except where special permits have been issued by Cape Nature. 3]2. Farmers whose particular conditions require the use of gin traps must apply for permits to Cape Nature, who will only issue permits AS A LAST RESORT for the use of approved traps and after imposing strict conditions on their use. Permit restrictions might require the use of cell phone alarm systems so that the farmer knows instantly when the trap has closed. Herders. 75]1. Farmers undertake to kraal their sheep at night and/or employ herders wherever possible and employ other defensive non-lethal methods of reducing stock losses. Margins in farming have shrunk and more active management is now necessary. Throwing sheep out in to the veld to look after themselves is outmoded. 75]2. If rigid labour laws are preventing farmers from employing herders then some special dispensation for herders is needed. Perhaps prison labour could be used, thereby reducing overcrowding in prisons and relieving the farmer from the burden of paying wages. In school holidays perhaps children could be allowed to earn a little money herding. Gin Trap Destruction Festivals? With good faith on both sides, this system could work. Farmers would avoid the damaging results of a confrontation with their own consumers and no doubt there are media and public relations opportunities in publicly destroying old gin traps. No doubt the big retailers would participate in enhancing the image of farming in SA. Chris Mercer and Bev Pervan Campaign Against Canned Hunting, Sec 21 NGO Co-authors of: Kalahari Dream

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