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Month: August 2015

Twisting Tales – Cecil and Jericho

Twisting Tales – Cecil and Jericho

Cecil and Jericho
Cecil & Jericho (Standing).
Image: Brent Stapelkamp

This is a story – a true story, and is as fascinating as it is factual. It demonstrates some of the interesting idiosyncrasies of lion life that have been documented by the Hwange Lion Research Team (HLR) through the use of radio tags and GPS collars.

 

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Cubs at Ngweshla
Image: scottyphotography.net

Although born at different times and with completely different lineage, Cecil and Jericho would have shared many common aspects in their very early weeks and months of life. Both would have been kept hidden to protect them for the first six or so weeks after birth, blind, helpless and totally dependent on their mothers for food and warmth. They would have been brought out of hiding and timorously introduced to the pride, would have known hunger, would have had to squabble, snarl and fight with other youngsters in the pride for the scraps of a kill. They would have known the freezing cold of Hwange winter nights and the breathless, blistering October daytime heat. They would have played and tussled with similar aged siblings, all the while learning vital skills needed in later years. They would have known the fright and confusion of dispersal males, driven from the pride at 3 or so years of age so as not to compete with the dominant male, nature’s way of dispersing the gene pool. They would have learned to become competent hunters in their own right in order to survive.

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Hwange Dry Season

Hwange Dry Season

For those that have not visited Hwange in the dry season, let us set the the scene:

 

Leafless trees stretch their branches to the cloudless sky in a silent plea.

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Stubby grass tufts and dry twigs crackle and snap underfoot. Carpets of crunchy leaves, red, orange and brown dance and whirl like mini dervishes in the wind. The heat at midday is breathless, when temperatures soar and even the birds stop their endless song and busy foraging for fat seeds and hapless insects. This is Hwange dry season.

 

Elephants dominate the pans and water holes. They are at the top of the drinking chain due to their size of course. They start arriving about midday, a flow of breeding herds, 20 or 30 in a group, endlessly coming

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The Power of One

The Power of One

I often get asked why I am involved with Friends of Hwange Trust? Why spend so much time fundraising and why specifically Hwange? The answer is quite simple. Someone has to do it and why not me? I’ve always had a passion for the bush and wish I could spend more time in it…Posted 16.08 2015

In 2005, after a severe drought, we heard that Hwange National Park was suffering due to lack of water, and my wife and I decided to go and assess the situation for ourselves. What we found was truly shocking – there were many dead and dying animals and abandoned young. Predators were so gorged many of them could hardly walk.

It was time to get involved and do something to help,

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NGWESHLA CAMP – HWANGE NATIONAL PARK

NGWESHLA CAMP – HWANGE NATIONAL PARK

 

For the last 10years Friends of Hwange Trust has worked tirelessly in the Park, mainly focusing on water projects but also assisting in other areas including maintenance, firebreaks, animal rescue and deployment of anti-poaching units.

For some time we have requested authority to build a small basic bush camp at Ngweshla Pan as this is certainly one of the most popular areas in the Park and boasts some of the best game viewing the Park has to offer. There is an existing campsite at the pan which is always booked up so there is definitely room for a second camp.

We are very happy to announce that this authority has just been granted and we hope to have the construction completed in the next few months.cecil camp

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