Members Update - Feb 13
We hope this finds you all well, happy & getting ready to visit us again.
It’s been an interesting time since Christmas, almost every rainfall at Ntsiri has caused the Ntsiri River to flow, covering the river bed completely each time, even when only 24mm fell. Amazing what the absence of any obstacles (dam walls) has allowed to happen. For those who haven’t seen this wonderful happening, we’ve had fish moving around in the flow, even when very low. Of course the fish eagles had good hearty meals, lovely to have their calls heard continuously for an extended period. Hyena were seen fishing too, that particular barbell just chose the wrong time to move about, ended up between some serious jaws. With the blessings came some hardship, our crossings have kept us on our toes. Sorry to those of you who were hampered by the closures, we have no control over these matters. Once we can eventually venture into the river bed to get the new causeway underway, things will be a whole lot better.
Game has been really abundant, according to the track record, I try to regularly nip out & squizz about, plenty movement in the cooler times, just about everything becomes crepuscular, you members too. I’m sure if left to their own whims, our staff would as well. Lions made some great appearances, it was very good to hear the old black maned male is still around & very happy to pose for members. With the recent spate of buffalo births, quite a number of unsteady new-borns were reported, scavengers & hunters have been very active on the prowl, plenty tracks about. A herd of around 600 (guestimate) was seen over a few days. Not unusual for them to congregate at this time, safety in numbers. Next big aggregations should be in about 4 months’ time, when the cows will once again come into oestrus, so we should see the smaller herds joining up from about June onwards for a couple of weeks. That’s also the time when the “dagga boys” vanish into the herds, away from their usual hang-outs. One study revealed that these old bulls sire a large percentage of the calves, due to high testosterone levels building up when away from the herds, they have greater urge to mate & are more aggressive than herd bulls. In times gone by, these fellows were often regarded as valuable only for hunting, but thank the Good Lord we live & learn & get to know better.
We’ve just learned of an unfortunate incident in the Balule Reserve, a man was killed by a bull elephant, apparently in musth. Please be aware, any bull elephant in musth, noticeable by the active seeping temporal glands & normally quite smelly & dripping urine from an algae-like covered penile sheath, they are extremely dangerous. Bulls in this state are assertive which switches to deadly in an instant. Some by the way info. It was noticed that when cows (ellies) are placed on various contraceptive devices/methods, their lack of oestrus cycling caused the bulls to remain in musth cycles longer & have them more often. Definitely an undesirable state for any would-be game walkers. But anyway, give any musth bull all the space he wants. I was once “pushed away”, (not quite chased) for about 6km, they can be very determined.
I’m trying to get serious input from well-known researcher & scientist, Dr Mike Peel, on our long term plans for bush thinning & burning programmes, I hope to have good news for all in the not too distant future.
We’re nearly complete with the Nyari Dam fix, we had scouring away of a back section of the dam wall, however, no damage to the “working section”, all has been compacted & shaped, not too much left to do.
There is light at the end of the tunnel (it’s not the train coming) re our assistant management couple, it’s has been a long search, but will hopefully be concluded soon. Look out for an announcement in the near future.
Something not good. I have reports that members are not leaving the bush amenities, hides, platforms, as they should. Any rubbish, litter, left-over food items (including bones) HAS to be taken away. Clean up after yourselves & kids & leave as you would like to find. I trust this will be implemented, what I can’t guarantee is the compliance of the baboons & monkeys. FYI. We clean these facilities once every week.
Anybody know where I can get my grubby hands on a used JCB rear tyre, preferably a “slick”, minimal tread for minimal road damage, size, 16,9 x 28, must have good side-walls though.
Before you know it, Easter will be upon us. There will be an egg hunt for the kids, those who can track bunnies will do best (bush bunnies lay eggs ??) & we will again try our hand at a Treasure Hunt activity for adults & teenagers. This time bring your thinking caps & be prepared to learn some new stuff about your wonderful & precious primary & secondary components of the most wonderful Ntsiri !! By the way, that’s not the 1st clue.
God bless you & Ntsiri.