I’m sitting in my room sipping down on a smoothie and trying to figure out what to write for this week’s Cat Report. However I find myself getting distracted, the vervet monkeys are unimpressed with something in the distance… Then the squirrels and finally the francolins start alarming. My immediate thought is that there must be a leopard lurking somewhere. So why not start with Thandi- as she has been the cat hanging around the safariLIVE crew camp lately.

Thandi has to be one of the most difficult leopards to track and will have you are walking around in circles before you know it – that’s exactly what I’ve been doing these past few days. It is however, becoming tough for the cats now as the grass is not so tall and the trees are losing their leaves providing less cover for the predators. It works both ways as Thandi managed to catch a duiker – I can’t imagine how many attempts she made before successfully bringing down dinner. Tlalamba is growing up way too quickly and mom is starting to notice it. Thandi is becoming less tolerant of her daughter, especially when Tlalamba wakes her up during a siesta.

The Duke of Djuma, Tingabanana, Tingi or even just plain old Tingana (whatever your flavour) is here to stay and he demonstrated this to us by battling it out with the ghost of the North, Gijima. I was wondering when this was going to happen, often on the northern boundary of Djuma, just before the sun sets, the rasping calls of a leopard can be heard. Gijima has been sneaking into Torchwood and some of Tingana’s favourite spots. Apparently Tingana’s threats were a laughable affair until the Duke decided he wanted to have some face time with an old ‘friend’. (I think Gijima thought the ‘terms and conditions’ had changed- obviously he didn’t read the fine print). There’s not much more to say other than Gijima was seen high tailing it into Buffelshoek and the victorious Tingana was left with only a few scratches!

Hukumuri, Xidulu, the Nkuhuma pride and the female cheetah with two cubs have kept themselves just out of reach. They all seem to be quite happy in the west for the moment, I was especially happy to see that the two ‘lost’ Nkuhuma sub adults reunited with the rest of the pride and celebrated with a buffalo braai (barbecue) and a pool party. While trying to make the most of their two day feast a gang of hyena gate crashed the party and with determination managed to chase the remaining lions off the carcass. Better luck next time Nkuhumas.

Lion luck seems to be favouring the Sausage Tree Pride, who also enjoyed a beefy meal in the Mara Triangle Conservancy. The littlest member of the lot seems to be doing well and mom isn’t letting it out of her sight. For the first time in a while the entire pride have been seen together however this makes huddling under trees for shade a little difficult, one of the lionesses decided to take to the top of a tree to avoid the biting flies and perhaps to enjoy the breeze.

Kakenya has been doing a sterling job at looking after her five fuzzy cubs but on Monday she had a scare with another spotted creature moving past her den. It was an unknown leopard… Luckily for her, the intruder took no notice of what was stashed away but she isn’t taking any chances and moved the cubs slightly further down the hill – phew!

Let’s see what the next week in the bush has instore for us… (I’m hoping for cheetah- just putting it out there!)

Written by: Tayla Jane McCurdy