All pictures in this newsletter were taken by Christo Schmidt
during his recent exclusive tiger safari with JV. Christo and
his family stayed at the new Tigress Julie Lodge
Iím filming a male lion by the name of Satan,
who is part of the Mapogo coalition at Londolozi Game Reserve.
Satan is trying to mate with a lioness who appears to be in a
light or false estrus. The lioness rejects Satanís advances, so
he kills her. The body of the dead lioness is not eaten by
It is estimated that in Satanís lifetime, he
kills 7 adult lionesses and an unknown number of cubs.
A female leopard has been mating for two days
with the dominate male (male 1). Exhausted, the male leopard
falls asleep and while he is sleeping, the leopardess slips away
and crosses into the territory of another male (It has been
proved that all cats can become impregnated by more than one
male in one pregnancy).
The leopardess locates the second male (male
2) and mates with him several times. When the leopardess tries
to leave male 2, to return to male 1, male 2 prevents her from
leaving. A fight breaks out and male 2 kills the female leopard.
The body is later consumed by hyenas.
At Tiger Canyons, we move a young tigress
into an area where there is space for her to set up a territory.
In this area is a non-related male and potential breeding
partner for her.
The young Tigress is put on birth control
which will interrupt her estral cycle for 20 months. The moment
we introduce the birth control we change the dynamics, because
the resident male now sees her, not as a potential mate, but
rather as a competitor, competing for food.
The dominant male kills the young female but
does not eat her.
Two male lions spend the night searching for
5 cheetah cubs in the grass, eventually killing 4 of them. None
of the cubs are eaten.
A lioness attacks and kills two leopard cubs
while they are playing at the base of a marula tree. Up in the
marula tree, the mother of the cubs is feeding off a freshly
killed impala. The mother leopard fails to see the approaching
lioness and is unable to defend her cubs.
The lioness spends an hour trying to reach
the mother leopard who has gone to the top of the marula tree.
(The thin branches at the top of the marula tree will not
support the weight of the lioness). Eventually, unable to kill
the mother leopard, the lioness takes the impala kill onto the
ground where the rest of the pride finish the kill in 20
Hours later the mother leopard descends the
tree, picks up the bodies of her two cubs and partially eats
them. Then the remains are buried in the sand in a dry river
bed. (Having lost her cubs, the mother leopard will within a few
weeks come back into estrus).
A pack of wild dogs has killed an impala. The
whole pack including puppies are feeding on the kill. One by one
the puppies, their bellies full, leave the carcass and wander
away. The adults are still feeding and are not vigilant.
A female leopard is watching from her vantage
point in a buffalo thorn tree. The leopard descends the tree and
kills the first wild dog pup. This she hoists into a knob thorn
tree. Then the leopard kills a second and a third pup, before
the adult wild dogs realize the leopard is attacking.
The wild dogs immediately attack the leopard,
but she makes it safely into the buffalo thorn tree. The wild
dog adults carry the bodies of the pups away. They spend 20
minutes circling the knob thorn tree where the first pup is
hoisted, but they are unable to retrieve it.
An hour later the leopard descends the
buffalo thorn tree and moves off. The leopard makes no attempt
to feed off the dead wild dog pup hoisted in the knob thorn
Clearly food is not the motive when a rival
predator kills another rival (Having said that, if a predator is
extremely hungry it will eat a rival predator it has killed)
The reason I believe, is that all predators
are competing for space and for resources. Resources are
obviously prey animals but in the case of females it could be
At leopard gorge in the Masai Mara a lioness
from the Marsh Pride wanted to give birth to cubs in a cave.
Nearby the cave was a mother leopard with 2 cubs. The lioness
killed the mother leopard and the cubs to make the place safe
for her own cubs.
A mother leopard (leopard 1) with cubs moves
into an adjacent territory and kills the cubs of another mother
leopard (leopard 2). The less leopards competing for the impala,
the bushbuck, the nyala and grey duiker in leopard 1ís territory
the better for leopard 1.
In addition when the cubs of leopard 2 begin
to disperse, they will begin to look for territories. These
dispersing leopards could threaten leopard 1ís territory and
they will compete with leopards 1ís cubs for territory.
Therefore if she can kill them as cubs, leopard 1 removes the
The smaller an area and the denser the
predator population, the more the competition for resources will
Inter predator aggression is also natureís
way of controlling the predator populations. If every cub from
every litter survived, then the prey populations would not be
able to support the number of predators and the whole system
would simply collapse, resulting in extinction of both predator
In the case of human beings, the regulating
forces which once controlled our populations, have largely been
removed and now we are expanding towards 10 billion strong.
However like the predators, the competition
for the earths resources are intensifying and at some point,
breaking point will be reached.
Tread Lightly on the Earth
The Language of Trees
I urge everyone to read "Trees Talk To Each
Other" and the corresponding TED talk by Professor Suzanne
It has huge ramifications for the future of
Tiger Canyon has experienced excellent rains
and the landscape is looking spectacular.
Four sets of cubs are providing outstanding
photo opportunities against a beautiful backdrop.
Photographically, we are having our best
Tread Lightly on the Earth
In the Jaws of the Tiger
The second version of "In the Jaws of the
Tiger" dedicated to Phumlani Mchunu, is out on SoundCloud.
Dame Daphne Sheldrick 1934 - 2018
I would like to pay tribute to Dame Daphne
Sheldrick who died on Thursday. Daphne represented the very best
of humanity. She provided a bridge between the elephant and
human world. Daphne has left a deep and lasting legacy. To every
hunter who has gunned down an elephant and to every poacher who
has orphaned an elephant calf, l say Daphne will be watching
you. Kind, generous, compassionate, with a deep resolve. I met
Daphne twice. Both meetings were inspirational. I intend
composing a song in Daphne's honour.
Love Light and Peace