Gabriel our head of security has managed to get pictures of one of our elusive Striped Hyenas. An Oryx was found dead several days before these images were taken, using the carcass as bait. The Oryx had sustained bad injuries in a past fight with another male oryx (you might remember that we found another large male Oryx dead several months ago). This Oryx looks like he had survived for several months with his wounds which included two puncture wounds to his underside and a broken leg. Gabriel and his guards found the dead oryx in a little ditch where it appeared he had slipped and then was unable to get up.
Gabriel set up the camera on the carcass the first night and caught this fleeting glimpse of a Striped Hyena, a species we observed only for the first time a month ago.
Just when we thought there were likely no more large mammals to be discovered on tumaren, one shows up. Last night on a night game drive we had a very good look at a Striped Hyena. These guys are nocturnal hyenas like the aardwolf which we have recorded at tumaren on many occasions.
Yesterday while walking with some safari clients a Leopard was spotted bounding up a ridge opposite us. We descended into the ravine between to examine what his tracks might tell us. Between the tracks his feet left there was the distinct marks of something being dragged. The marks once they hit thick grass were difficult to follow and so it took some time before the carcass was found. It was hidden so well that you could only see it when nearly standing on it. The animal that he killed was a Steinbuck male. He had eaten half the animal and so we placed the camera for his return and we were rewarded with these images. He is an adolescent, not yet totally adult as you can determine by his narrow head and small jowls.
You normally only see Baboon Spiders out of their underground funnels when there is rain (or I suppose possibly when breeding). This particular specimen was coaxed from his home with a blade of grass a trick perfected by most young boys in these parts. Baboon Spiders are quite harmless but they will give you a good bite if hassled. This guy we returned to his house after taking his picture.
This centipede was found this morning under one of our tent floors. These centipedes evidently give a serious sting and one of my guys said that they can kill a camel (but are only very painful to humans). I don’t know from where the venom comes from. This particular centipede has rather formidable grabbers at its tail but I’m not sure if that is where the venom resides. This guy and a mass of toads as well as some snakes have been around with the beginning of our first rains that started the day before yesterday. hooray for the rains.
You can use either name. We use Honey-badger around here. Kerry’s 5 traditional bee hives were completely destroyed a few weeks back and all our guys said it was the honey badger and yet we never see him. Then came the camera trap.
While it is not a great picture and we will be working to getter better images of this fascinating animal, It is neat to, at least, get a glimpse of our honey thief.
The Honey Badger is likely the species that together evolved a sympatric relationship with the bird the honeyguide who brings the animal to the hive and eats the grubs and wax after the animal has dispatched the hive. I only say likely above because the honey guide also guides humans and it is thought by some that the honey guide could have evolved the behavior first with early human gatherers. Old Mr. Honey Badger has been around for far longer though than humans and i think it more likely that early humans observed the behavior and mimicked it. The Masai in our area that collect honey that the birds find often whistle and grunt at the bird which they say encourages it. cheers, jc
So does everyone here at Tumaren – thanks that is , to Theresa for her generous contribution to conservation in our area. Every contribution means a great deal to us and particularly to the local rangers who we employ to patrol the adjacent community land for poaching. We have not found another snare in months but that is not bad news that just shows how effective the patrols have become in cleaning up an area that was once hit quite hard by poachers. Thanks Theresa.
These guys came in the night to the camera. Surely they got the good news before me and came to bid their thanks too. best, jc
…but there is thunder tonight all around us and we are all eager for it to pour. All the dams in the area are dry and each afternoon the winds blow sand and dust into mini tornadoes. Depsite that our elephants are back and they usually only arrive back with us with the rains. Many of the Acacia mellifera bushes are just about to flower and this too often happens before the rains arrive. We are all very hopeful.
Just back from Nairobi and setting the camera trap with a bit of smelly meat. Fingers crossed.
This Black-backed Jackal showed up at the salt last night. Still not an aardwolf but rather neat to see how inquisitive he was with the camera.
Then in the morning these Zebra as well as a male Impala were at the salt. Later after it rains it will be interesting to contrast how many species as well as the numbers will be coming to the salt. When everything is green there is far more salt consumption with buffalo, giraffe and elephants spending quite a bit of time at the lick. We heard today that the rains have begun at the coast.
For days now we have noticed potatoes missing from our store and so we put into effect our crack surveilance system to catch the culprit.
Then we got a look at the thief’s face.
The Potoato Thief is a Porcupine. A massive porcupine if your american or from the new world. New world porcupines and old world porcupines are different in several ways, one is size. the other differences I can’t remember off hand just now.