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LIN'S TRIP REPORT: LITTLE MAKALOLO,SAVUTI,TONGABEZI,SAUSAGE TREE,TAFIKA,PUKU RIDGE

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Aug 7th, 2005, 08:25 PM
  #41
Lin
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atravelynn,

I'll email this to you also. Where in Africa are you off to? Have a fabulous trip, silly thing to say isn't it.

I guess I had my share of 'tent troubles' but really they were 'tent adventures' - only that one at Sausage Tree was really out there. No, the guides did not say why the elephants were in must. Does anyone else know whether that is a seasonal condition? I know I was told that elies can mate at any time of the year, because females do not go into heat only at a certain time of the year. But I don't know about the males. They were young bulls.

We saw sable twice at Hwange. The first time was a male, 2 females and a baby. The second time there were two males.

Bryan Jackson seems to have friends all over the globe. He told me he has a good friend in North Dakota -also a woman he met on safari . He's really personable so I can see why.

I just returned from Sausage Tree Camp two weeks ago so it was the same time of year as you went. However people from Livingstone on down told us the Zambezi was extremely low this year so maybe that accounts for the difference in hippo sightings. The canoe trip out of Sausage Tree required a guide in each canoe, because you MUST know how to circumvent the hippo pods. The guides called a certain section of the channel the 'hippo highway' because there were very large groups of 40-some hippo. The channel is narrow in many sections so I would not dare to canoe through it on my own. The guide did the paddling but we went downstream anyway so there was no work, except to keep the canoe away from the hippos. The water was so shallow we sometimes got stuck on a sand bar and that was scary because of those mean ole eyes watching every move we made.

I'll look forward to seeing your trip report soon!
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Aug 7th, 2005, 08:35 PM
  #42
 
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Lin,

About the full moon...It is just a theory of mine, after having the worst imaginable gameviewing at Kulefu (located within the park limits of LZNP).

While I experienced the best possible birding at Kulefu, and had a couple very thrilling half day canoe expeditions, the gamedrives were totally dead and we didn't see a single lion or leopard during our stay.

The full moon was on about our third night, so even the preceding two nights and the subsequent one night were very lit up by the moon. It is apparent that the illumination would make it very difficult for the predators to hunt, since they often rely on the cover of darkness.

I will be spending my three nights at Simbambili next month during the full moon, but only because I know that daytime leopard viewing in Simbambili is very common.

However, my next two safaris (Tanzania and Zambia/Botswana) are planned to avoid the full moon. Safaris are too expensive to visit at a time when night gamedrives may be compromised.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 09:10 PM
  #43
Lin
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Wow thanks for that thought and I'll certainly remember it for my next safari. I wonder if that's partly why we hardly saw predators this trip. Another negative for me was that I couldn't see the stars due to the full moon. But I did enjoy seeing the moon maintaining a bright orange hue for hours after sunset.
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Aug 7th, 2005, 11:53 PM
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-- Does anyone else know whether that [musth] is a seasonal condition? --

If I understand it correctly, after around age 25 (younger elephants can show signs but it's not as intense), male elephants hit the cycle (musth) annually when around females in heat. They are most aggressive and dangerous during this stage but they can't sustain the level of high intensity for long periods of time. Usually a few weeks pre-musth, one month high, and then it starts to wither out.

"The reason for the musth seems to be that it prevents inbreeding. If the bulls would not be at their aggressive peak only for a month a year, only the largest, most dominant bull would cover the females all the time."

I also saw a show one time where female zookeepers/handlers cannot work with the male elephants during this time either. Interesting...



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Aug 8th, 2005, 12:44 AM
  #45
mv
 
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Rocco and Lin

There are probably other people on this board that could give a more qualified answer (so please do!).
Typically herbivores have poorer nightvision than the predators.
During a full moon the herbivores stand a much better chance of seeing the predators in time. As the predators are trying to conserve as much energy as possible, they are not "wasting" their time hunting during a full moon. This does not meen that they are not hunting at all, just that they are much less active during the full moon period.
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Aug 8th, 2005, 01:40 PM
  #46
 
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WOW Lin...great trip report. You did not lack for excitement on your safari. The elephant encounter had me on the edge of my seat.

We were at Savuti in May and had Richard as our guide as well. He was an awesome guide and a real cutie as well! Overall it was one of our favorite camps...just goes to prove its not all in the "paws".

Sausage Tree sound great and I was considering it for a 2006 Zambia trip so your feedback was really appreciated.

It is disappointing to hear about the "attitude" you encountered at Tafika Camp, wondering if that is an anomaly.

Can't wait to see your photos.
Brenda


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Aug 8th, 2005, 02:43 PM
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I just saw a show on Animal Planet about young bull elephants in musth being responsible for killing off much of the rhino population in Southern Africa. I believe the show was called Killer Elephants. It was very interesting and explained the reasons for this behavior in detail. They tend to repeat their programs several times in the same week on Animal Planet - so I am sure it will be on again.
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Aug 8th, 2005, 03:10 PM
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beept: I saw that program; most interesting.

Full moon date info through 2009 for anyone who is interested:

http://www.almanac.com/astronomy/moondays.php
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Aug 9th, 2005, 02:47 AM
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Beept, I saw that programme too, a couple of years back.

From what I recall, they had transplanted a number of young male bulls, old enough to be separated from their maternal herds but not adults by any means into a new park.

Sometime afterwards they were finding these dead rhinos about the park.

With some investigative work they discovered that the adolescent males were attacking the rhino in a way that had not been observed elsewhere.

Eventually they established the reason - because these young males were not in contact with adult male elephants (none were transferred and the park had none previously) when they went into musth, as adolescents are prone to do, it lasted much longer and was more severe than it would normally be at their age. It turned them into little bullies.

They solved the problem by introducing one or more much older adult male into the park.

Fairly quickly the presence of this older male had an impact - the adolescents musth seasons were quickly back to normal short bursts. This meant they could learn gradually how to deal with this hormonal change over a period of years.

Basically experts learned from this that adult males do play more of a role in the development of younger males than had previously been thought - whereas it had been believed that only the females were responsible for upbringing.

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Aug 9th, 2005, 03:04 AM
  #50
bwanamitch
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You can read about this in Randall Moore's execellent 'Elephants for Africa' book (remember Abu?),
http://www.safari-shop.de/CoffeeTabl...#0-620-26323-7

Mitch
 
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Aug 9th, 2005, 03:22 AM
  #51
bwanamitch
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brain cell decay is progressing...
should read: "excellent"
 
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Aug 9th, 2005, 09:12 AM
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"Basically experts learned from this that adult males do play more of a role in the development of younger males than had previously been thought - whereas it had been believed that only the females were responsible for upbringing."

Humans also.
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Aug 9th, 2005, 10:49 AM
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Aug 10th, 2005, 06:36 PM
  #54
Lin
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I'm glad I didn't know what elephants in MUSTH are capable of when that one visited us....they kill rhinos?? Yikes. Now I'm doubly glad we took the coward's course and ran into the bathroom :\
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