One of the Ugly 5, this male warthog watched as I drove by. I am glad that guides no longer refer to them as “Pumba” from the Lion King as that Disney nickname has no place on a game drive.
The object is to teach visitors, both local and international, about our wildlife without having to quote the names of animated characters.
Did you know? They are vegetarian. And unlike Pumba who snacks on worms, the actual warthogs eat grasses, plants, berries and bark as well as using their snouts to dig up roots and bulbs.
This duo of Black Leopards can be viewed on an Ambassador tour of the facility near the Day Visitor centre. Although they look pitch black, you can see their rosettes when they are lit by the sun.
Fun fact: They are the largest cats to climb trees regularly and compared to other members of the Felidae family, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. They can run at over 50km/h, leap over 6m horizontally, and jump up to 3m vertically.
This particular animal had little time for me as it seems that there was a wheelbarrow full of food just behind me,
The black coat colouration is attributed to the expression of recessive alleles in leopards and dominant alleles in jaguars. In each species, a certain combination of alleles stimulates the production of large amounts of dark pigment melanin in the animal’s fur.
This young Barbary Sheep is just one of a large herd that can be found near the Neck and Deck restaurant at the entrance to the property.
A Barbary sheep is good at running uphill to escape predators and can attain a speed of 50-60 kph. They are very nimble-footed and can jump over 2 m.
Barbary sheep (Auodad) are called sheep, but some recent genetic studies revealed that they are more closely associated with wild goats. Aoudads are a real species rather than a hybrid and straddle the biological divide between sheep and goat.
King of the Jungle? We have no jungles in Africa. And seeing that, like most cats, they sleep for up to 20 hours a day, surely that title could go to a more deserving species?
Nearly all wild lions live in Africa, below the Sahara Desert, but one small population exists around Gir Forest National Park in western India.
Males grow impressive manes the older they get. These manes grow up to 16cm long and are a sign of dominance. The older they get, the darker their manes become.
As well as attracting females, their manes may also protect their neck and head from injuries during fights.
The ladies who (catch) lunch? When hunting, lionesses have specific roles. Some play the role of ‘centre’ and others the role of ‘wing’ – the wings chase the prey towards the centres.
A face that only a mother can love. A young wildebeest shares a moment with its mother.
The young are able to run and keep up with the herd within 15 minutes of being born!
The collective noun for this species is a confusion and a very apt name that is.
I did not come across any Ox-peckers here, but the Common Mynah seemed to be filling that role.
A couple of Hartmann’s Zebras take time out for some grooming.
A view to a kill…with apologies to Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond series of novels.
In this instance, seeing that this pack of Wild Dogs is housed in an enclosure, they are fed rather than hunt for themselves.
That being said, in the wild, they are the most efficient of all the predators with a success rate of around 80%. This is attributed to the social coordination and teamwork of the pack.
As I was leaving I spotted a heard of Roan antelope standing near a waterhole. This is an animal that I have not seen in a very long while and it had become almost as elusive as the pangolin that took me 53 years to finally find in the wild.
Interesting facts about this mammal? The Latin epithet “equinus” means “horse-like”. The term “roan” is associated with horses. It is a type of horse coat colour that is characterized by a mixture of both coloured and white hairs.
Well, for one thing, their vocalization is an unusual whistle. They have three basic sounds; a high-pitched squeal signifying anger, an equine snort for alarm, and a low hissing sound when wounded.
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