Conservation & environment

Baobab Tails

27 August 2016

Since I have been in the Selous, I have been very privileged to experience what i have so far. This magical land never ceases to impress, and if you truly have a passion for Africa, there is no better place to be. I wake up every morning with a sense of excitement; that feeling you get when you know something incredible will happen but you aren't sure what. This is what the Selous Game Reserve does to you. It gets a hold of you and never lets go.

This is the story of a young female Leopard called Tana, who, over the past 3 months has captured the hearts of our guides and many clients at Sand Rivers. I will be cataloguing her movements over the next few years, hoping to track down the extent to where her territory reaches and to bring you into the life of one of these secretive animals.

(Tana, relaxing in the noon day heat)

She is currently in an area called Tagalala Mwanzo (The beginning of Lake Tagalala). This is in the same area where she was born and raised, and we often have sightings of her mother along the ridge to the west. We have seen her more often during this dry season and she has always hunted very close to water, when the animals are coming to drink. It will be much harder to track her in the rainy season when wildlife has spread out, that is why it is vital we get as much information now.

(An overview of the area in regards to where the lodge is. The red box representing where Tana currently is)

Clients were lucky enough to see her about 3 weeks ago take down a full grown male Impala. No easy task for any Leopard, especially impressive since Tana is still quite small. This gives us hope that she will become a remarkable mother and raise some incredible cubs over the next 7 - 10 years.

(A close up of the red box. Here you can see her movements over the past 2 weeks. The bottom point is where she took down the male Impala, the top point is where she is now).

For the last 4 days we have seen her up a baobab tree with one of our resident males. They have been getting quite cosy in the top branches, and i believe Tana will soon be birthing her first litter. I can't wait to spend more time with her and hopefully she will allow us to get close to her cubs when they are born.

(This is the male that Tana has been spending time with)

(White dashed lines represent wildlife paths to the lake)

The area where they are now is a prime location. The high and wide branches of the Baobab tree offer a comfortable place to rest during the day and it also gives them incredible views of Lake Tagalala just close by. From those branches they can see all the wildlife coming in to drink and can pick and chose their meals as they please.
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