Rains this year have been
plenty and generous, and I can’t remember such an extreme wet season in
Cangandala at least since the 2005/2006 season. This fact has several
consequences that, one way or the other, affect our work. The first and most
obvious result was over flooding the rivers, which reduced considerably our
mobility inside the park. Actually, and as soon as the rains grew in intensity
around mid-January, the park main road was cut-off, and we had to walk across
with water above our knees to get in. Approaching the animals in these
conditions turned out to be almost impossible, and the only exception was a
brief observation and photographs taken still in
Nevertheless, the abundant
rains might be a blessing, especially following several very dry seasons in a
row. It reduces considerably the risk of intense drought, it should also
replenish underground water resources and the soils should keep moisture for
longer into the dry season; and the lush development of the vegetation should
provide lots of grazing material. On the other hand, the constant rains didn't allow for strategically placed small out-of-season burnings, which in previous
years had contributed for a balanced veld management and food provision for the
animals. Another concern is that the overgrown grass this year will turn into a
huge amount of dead grass – combustible material, thus increasing enormously the
risks of hot fires in the dry season, inside the sanctuary. So basically, the
weather conditions this year might prove to be good in many respects, but will
demand a more carefully planned and assertive management in the next few
As for the animals, as
always there are new developments to report, and this time a huge surprise was
registered. While observing a herd inside the sanctuary in January, we couldn't believe our eyes when we spotted Joana among the group! This was a totally
unexpected. Joana-the-mad-cow, had proved to be anti-social and escaped under
the fence, soon after being captured in 2009. It had since remained outside the
sanctuary, behaving in secretive fashion, declined to approach the hybrids when
they were around in the first two years, and although we looked for her, we
failed to find her during the 2011 capture exercise. And finally, even when
having Ivan-the Terrible around, they didn't seem to “connect”, as they were
never recorded together, in spite clearly overlapping their roaming territories.
Of course, neither of them seemed to be friendly characters, but we always had
hope that they could get along somehow… or at least to meet on a special stormy
night… On the other hand we still fear the day Ivan will break through the fence
into the sanctuary, but the last thing we expected was Joan to decide to crawl
under the fence after 4 years of deliberate
As the rainy season
progressed, the animals did split into several smaller sub-herds, at one given
time apparently into 4 groups, one group with old females and the old bull
Duarte, a second group with young Mercury and many young females, a third group
composed of a couple females a younger male and several calves, and a last group
mostly comprising hybrids.
Other than this, we had to
rely on the trap cameras to know what was going on. And here our expectations
were fully met. Back in December we were convinced that Teresa, one of our two
old breeding cows which had conceived calves in January and February (the other
being Luisa), would produce a second calf before end of 2013. Well, not only we
could confirm that, but somewhat surprisingly, both cows produced the second
calf by turn of the year! That was fantastic, as both cows, in spite of their
age, seem now to be well synchronized, and producing calves every 9 months. This
brought us to a total 2013 production to 7 calves (where 2 old females alone
produced 4 of these), of which 3 were females, 2 males, and the two youngest
still undetermined (although at least one of the later seems to be a female).
Truth be said, the second male calf born, hasn’t been seen in many months and
may well have been killed. Some degree of calf mortality is unavoidable, but if
confirmed it was the first casualty in 3 years, and in any case it is better to
lose a male calf than a female.
By end of March, we
received disturbing news, accounting for a new fight along the fence, between
Ivan and, presumably, Duarte. Once again the fence got quite damaged, and there
were clear signs of fighting and blood, but neither Ivan nor any other bull
could be found nearby. We still don’t know for sure if any bull got seriously
injured or if animals moved across the fence boundary, but apparently things are
back to normal and are once again peaceful. For
HUNTING PICTURES OF SUCCESSFUL WOMEN HUNTERS HUNTING GAME WITH BOW AND ARROW IN NAMIBIA
In Roman mythology, Diana was the goddess of the hunt, being associated with wild animals and woodland, having the power to talk to and control animals.
As a goddess of hunting, Diana often wears a short tunic and hunting boots. She is often portrayed holding a bow, and carrying a quiver on her shoulder, accompanied by a deer or hunting dogs.
If you are interested in booking a Trophy Plains Game Hunt in Namibia please contact us directly, we offer Special Hunt Packages for WomenHunters who would like to escape the typical female stereotype.
NOTE: Comair also operate to Namibia when you book with British Airways, DO NOT FLY with Comair this rule applies to flights in South Africa and to Namibia.
Safari Club International members and all international
hunters are advised to avoid Comair Limited, an airline operating in South Africa.
Comair Limited will no longer accept firearms, including sporting firearms.
This blatantly anti-hunting policy will affect flights on both its British
Airways and Kulula flights effective 01 March 2013.
This policy only applies to
Kulula and British Airways operated by Comair Limited. However the policy does
not include British Airways’ international flights.
All members of Safari Club International should boycott ALL
Comair Limited flights, and including its subsidiaries.
With many of the flight routes owned by these airlines
existing in popular hunting destinations such as South Africa, hunters must take
their business to other airlines that cater to the international
If you would like to send a letter about Comair’s refusal to
allow sporting firearms as checked baggage, call the corporate offices of each
of these airlines to make your voice heard.
DEAR SAFARI FRIENDS AND FELLOW HUNTERS We are sending out this Special ENews on behalf of Tim Herald who hunted with VIERANAS SAFARIS in 2008. It would be greatly appreciated if you can assist a fellow hunter in dire need.
Many of you know about the horrific accident in Africa in August with Team Magnum's Tim Herald and PH Stu Taylor. If you don't, the first hand report is at the bottom of this message.
There has been a lot of problems with getting donations to Stu. Doing banking and getting the money safely to him in Zim has been a real mess. The latest I have heard is that Paypal may actually be refunding past donations. This has been a further nightmare.
Stu’s insurance is denying coverage and basically trying to get out of paying all they can. Two policies have said they will not pay as he was out of his home country of Zim, so the need is huge. He has already had 4 surgeries, and it is very likely he may need at least 4 more. We hope the below is the final answer to the donation problem.
Thanks so much to John Jackson and Conservation Force.
OR by postal mailing to:
Conservation Force, 3240 S. I-10 Service Rd. W., Suite 200, Metairie, LA 70001.
You need to designate the purpose STUART TAYLOR and Conservation Force will mail you an acknowledgement for income tax deduction purposes. It is as simple as that.
Each and every donation, no matter how large or small, is greatly appreciated. Please band together and let’s unite as hunters to support one of our own who is very much in need at this time.
From August 5... It is with great regret that I make this report, but I wanted to get this out firsthand and quickly before a rumor mill begins. On August 4th, PH Stu Taylor, his 2 trackers, my cameraman and I were buffalo hunting in Niassa Reserve. We bumped a loan bull twice in the morning, and by 8:00ish AM we decided to leave him for the afternoon hunt. We began again at 3:30PM, and by 4:30, the buff had us moving very slowly through some very nasty and thick jesse. Fifteen minutes later we were in a spot with 10 yard visibility at the farthest, and the bull crashed out. I assumed he was going away, but then everyone in front of me parted, and I could see the black mass coming straight at us. I tried to walk backwards as I was bringing up my .458, but after a couple steps, I tripped and fell backwards. As I fell, I hit the trigger and my gun discharged. Simultaneously, Stu had fired at the buff from the hip and hit and turned him. He definitely saved someone’s life. At that point Stu began yelling. I rushed toward him, and then realized that my errant bullet had hit Stu in the back, and come out his shoulder. We applied pressure as much we could to subside bleeding, and began the 1KM plus walk out toward the road. Fortunately one of our group of hunters is a military special forces surgeon, and he was there by the time we got to the truck and was able to dress the wound, pack it and get an Israeli bandage on. We got him to camp, the wound was redressed, and we stabilized Stu as we organized evacuation. The pilot trying to take off in Pemba was arrested for attempting to fly out in the dark, and we were told it would be the next morning before we could get Stu out. We had some pain medication, and Stu was even able to eat a small bit of dinner. As I write this, we just got Stu on a plane out to Pemba where a MARS jet is waiting to take him to Johannesburg where he can get quality medical attention. Our doctor here feels that besides a broken clavicle, Stu’s injuries are light tissue wound, but it was still a .458 that went through him. The bullet passed through without breaking anything in the shoulder, he can work his left hand fine, and besides the pain from broken clavicle, he could raise his arm. We are so very thankful that it was a solid. Stu is one of the toughest individuals I have ever seen, as he was a calm trooper through it all. He is in good spirits, says that this will no way stop him from hunting, and he was giving a thumbs up when we closed the plane door on his departure. I want to start a Stuart Taylor Relief Fund as soon as possible, but I do not quite know how to go about it at this point, as I will not be home for a week. Please pray for Stu and his family. This is a very serious situation. Please keep Stu in prayers. I know for a fact that that prayers will and do help as much as anything.
VIERANAS SAFARIS received the 1st Trimester Palanca Report from Pedro Vaz Pinto:
The beginning of 2012 was as dry as I could remember. The rainy season usually reaches its peak by February/ March, often over flooding the wetlands and making the roads muddy and frequently impassable. The last few years had witnessed generous rains, isolating Cangandala park for weeks or months, generally between January and April.
This rainy season however has been very atypical as most of the country experiences a severe drought, so when we scheduled our trip to Cangandala in March, and following insisting reports about the drought, we were confident that we would be able to enter the park and accompany the sable movements on the ground.
But, and as you have probably guessed by now, things wouldn’t be that easy.
True that the landscape was shockingly dry, without mud or water in the temporary streams, while the grass was half-grown and already dry and moribund – the park hadn’t seen a drop of water in months! But just as we arrived in the evening and settled in the camp, and sat down for dinner, it started to rain. First just a drizzle, then more steady and heavily. We went to bed while it rained, and it rained all night without stop. And it rained. And it was still raining in the morning while we had coffee, and now things started to look not so good.
The rain only stopped half-morning, but we were already on-wheels and the damage was done anyway.
Over the next couple days we were able to reach all the trap camera sites, to replace memory cards and batteries, but at the cost of slow progress and hard work. We got stuck countless times on the dirt roads inside and outside the sanctuary, and most salt licks had to be reached on foot. At least we were able to recover all the memory cards, but tracking the herds off-road was completely out of the question under those conditions.
So the trip turned out to be a half-disappointment, and this update report had to rely mostly on the various trap cameras’ photographic record.
Speaking of cameras, the new trap camera model we planted last December is performing exceptionally well, almost too well I may add. These have better image quality, are smaller and lighter, seem more reliable, and are much more energy-efficient with batteries lasting up to several months of continuing use. But they can also take literally thousands of photos per week, stored in 8GB cards, which is fantastic but also a curse in disguise. If we used to struggle with screening, managing and storing the photos, now this problem has been inflated several fold! This trip alone rendered dozens of thousands of photos, of which “only” a few thousand showed sable, roan or hybrids.
The main herd seems to have split in small groups, which is presumably a seasonal behavior during the rainy season, but may also result from specific social dynamics like females calving and young males dispersal. One interesting example was realizing how our best breeding female Teresa, just before calving, separated from the herd while taking with her the three young calves. By mid-December she was extremely pregnant, and surely her latest calf must have been born around Xmas. It’s only a pity we couldn’t see her since and she didn’t go back to the salt licks. In any case she is our main star, being the likely mother of three hybrids and having had now three pure calves just over two years of confinement – an exceptional performance! On the other hand, it also highlights just how poorly the others have performed (maybe Luisa had by now her second calf, but all the remaining 5 old females in the sanctuary have produced zero calves).
Very interesting to note that during her last days of pregnancy, Teresa became extremely dark in color, of a deep brown that almost resembles a bull. This is even more evident as she wasn’t a particularly dark female. Must be a physiological response resulting from hormonal changes, prior to calving.
Also noteworthy the fact that the first calf, the young male Mercury, is now turning very dark in color and at a very young age, under 2 years old. He seems to be very precocious, with impressive horns for a yearling, and already darker in color than most of the herd females. Maybe the lack of competition stimulates young males to develop faster?
Going in opposite direction are the castrated hybrid bulls, particularly the mature ones, which in a few months since castration have passed from an attractive dark golden-brown coloration, to a dominant pale-roanish color, mimicking now almost in perfection the color pattern of the female hybrids! Again, reflecting serious hormonal changes – testosterone has been proved to enhance the darker coloration on sable.
Outside of the sanctuary Ivan has been regularly visiting the salt licks, although mostly at night, while patrolling his new territory. And on January 1st he showed up accompanied by Joana (the old female that had escaped the fenced sanctuary in 2009), thus confirming our suspicions. On the other hand, we saw none of two young females that escaped the sanctuary following Ivan, and at this point it is unknown if they have teamed up with Joana, or wondered off on their own. Best wishes, Pedro.