Greetings from a chilly, wintery Pridelands. We certainly have been thrown into the depths of winter but luckily we have lots of heart-warming updates to share. Whether you find yourself escaping the heat in the northern hemisphere or snuggled under a blanket in the southern hemisphere, grab your beverage of choice and get comfortable, because August’s newsletter is full of interesting articles.
But, before we get started, we would like to point out that our newsletters are all now available here on our website, and we are also labelling them more accurately to reflect the month of publication – so don’t worry, you did not miss the July edition.
Featured image above by ©Yuka
We frequently speak of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) particularly with regards to Painted Dogs, but this stellar organisation is involved in numerous projects that do wonders for the preservation of all wildlife. July brought the coming together of an EWT cheetah-based project and Painteddog.tv. The EWT Cheetah Metapopulation Project is a project to diversify the genetic integrity of Africa’s cheetah population.
After capturing and transporting a female cheetah from Pilanesberg National Park, we were fortunate enough to be at the release of this cheetah onto Rietspruit Game Reserve. Rietspruit is already home to two cheetahs, Impi and Mabaibai, who also form a part of the EWT Cheetah Metapopulation Project. Together, Impi (meaning Zulu warrior) and Mabaibai (meaning elegant in Pedi) have produced two female cheetahs who, having reached maturity, were relocated to Zambia.
The hope for the new Rietspruit female, who is yet to be named, is that she will breed with Impi and produce more healthy cheetahs that will play their part in saving their species. Our female cheetah is currently in a boma, as she adjusts to her new home. If all goes according to plan, she will be released from the boma by mid-August. Stay tuned for updates on her progress.
As announced last week, we will soon be Broadcasting Live Open Surgery on a Female Lion, Bucket who many of you know, also on the Rietspruit Reserve.
The operation is being performed to ensure a healthy lion population is maintained with this closed reserve, and although the date is yet to be confirmed, you can already purchase your ticket to view the surgery live or watch after – whichever suites you best. If you are not able to join live, you can email your questions about the surgery before hand. Ticket prices are US$20 per household, and a portion of the funds raised will go towards the ongoing conservation operations required on the Rietspruit Reserve. To purchase a ticket using your credit/debit card or PayPal, click the button below or respond to this email:
Live Open Surgery on a Female Lion.
On Saturday 14 August, we will be conducting a Live Virtual Elephant Collaring on behalf of Wild Wonderful World, Ellie & May, and Elephants Alive. There are a limited tickets to this epic event for a good cause, so click here to buy your ticket in USD, and click here to buy your ticket in ZAR. You can also watch the promo video here.
The collars help Elephants Alive capture important tracking data, which they use to track elephant movements via advanced GPS and GMS technology in order to understand their movements in relation to habitat use, safety, the social landscape and past management practices. This long term tracking study has resulted in a critical, wide landscape understanding of elephant movements in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, (spanning South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe), to inform conservation management of one of southern Africa’s largest and most important elephant populations.
Animal World LIVE
The first AWL was held on the 3rd of July. Yuka and Brent dove straight into what we know and love, live cams! For the first time in the show’s history, the clips and moderation of live cams were done by viewers. It was so great to have viewers become part of the pack in a different capacity. The first clip was of a beautiful African Civet, who had visited the critter cam location in search of a drink of water, followed by magnificent leopards strutting their stuff, hyena activity with cubs at the den, a pair of slender mongooses, leopards at the hyena den, lions at the Kwenga waterhole, and a snacking Southern Red-billed hornbill.
The meaty bits of the evening’s conversation centered around Kwenga, and the spectacular sightings we have had through the seasons. If anything was gleaned, it’s that Kwenga is the place of cats (and amazing cheesecake, according to Yuka).
The second AWL was held on the 17th of July. Yuka and Dylan opened the show from the studio before they sent the viewers across to Brent, who was out in the dark, watching (and filming) mating leopards! After Brent’s tantalising hello, the show continued in its regular format, with wonderful animal scenes from our various live cameras.
Viewers were then sent back to Brent for an update on the mating leopards. Though the leopards did not oblige, Brent did pull a cheeky prank on his co-hosts and the viewers by pretending to do a flawless call of the Crested Barbet when in fact he was playing the call through his cell phone, sneaky!
Viewers’ photographic submissions were next. The first feature photograph was taken by Svenja in Kruger National Park, it depicted a hyena that looked like a villainous character from The Lion King. Debraseery’s image of a hyena sleeping amongst a group of Wild Dogs was next, all we have to say about this fascinating sighting is, let sleeping dogs lie. Ulrike was the photographer behind the final shot, with a stunning scene of a tower of giraffes taken in Nukuru National Park.
Before Yuka and Dylan settled into the topic of the evening, the dry season, Yuka segwayed into a new topic, the cheetah release that took place on Rietspruit. A short video clip gave the viewers a taste of the after-dark event that will hopefully contribute to strengthening the genetics of this majestic species. It was spectacular to hear a little bit of the behind-the-scenes dynamics surrounding how the Painteddog.tv team documented this special moment.
Private Virtual Safari Synopsis
See “An Intern Out and About” below for big-cat action with virtual safari guide, Dylan Carvalho.
For more information about the world’s first and only private virtual safari, click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org
News from the Den
In keeping with the style of our spirit animal, our pack dynamic has been in flux this month as we said some sad goodbyes, warm welcomes, and happy welcome backs.
July gifted us with a new face as we welcomed Hannah Edwards, a wild carnivore researcher, into our fold for three weeks. While staying at the Painteddog.tv den, Hannah helped create an identikit document for the Pridelands clan of spotted hyenas. The identikit contains photographs of the left and right flanks of each hyena, showing the unique spot pattern which is found on the coat of each individual. Relevant information such as the name, sex, estimated age and the dates on which the individual was first and last sighted can also be recorded in the document. This is going to be a great tool as we continue to uncover the mysteries of the Pridelands Clan. Hannah is now planning to undertake a Ph.D. on spotted hyenas, a species that she has developed a real soft spot for! Please feel free to reach out to her with any questions or to chat about spotties, her email address is email@example.com and she is on Instagram as @hannahedwards_wildlife.
Bavu is back! And this time, not just for a visit. We are elated to welcome Bavu back into the pack as a permanent member. Bavu rejoins the team as General Manager. We look forward to having this dynamic young leader pushing us into new spaces and growing alongside the rest of the team.
Sadly, life exists in an ebb and flow, and while it is wonderful to have new faces in the den, we also had to say farewell to two of our pack members this month. Our tech man, Dean Marais, had to resign on account of personal responsibilities. It is sad to see him go but we wish him well for all his future endeavours.
With the end of July came the end of Dylan Carvalho’s EcoTraining placement. Dylan has crept into the hearts of so many of you and we give you great assurance that Dylan will always remain part of the extended pack.
In amongst all the happy hellos and sad goodbyes, we celebrated one of our most precious team members birthdays. On the 18th of July, Wium, co-founder and heartbeat-of-all-things Painteddog.tv celebrated his birthday! True to style, Wium’s birthday was spent out in the field, working. Bryan, on the other hand, spent Wium’s birthday baking, because what’s a birthday without a home-made birthday cake? We wish Wium many happy returns and many more years of being at the forefront of wildlife broadcasting.
An Intern Out & About – Dylan Carvalho from EcoTraining
July was a special month for me, as the day of my departure was coming closer each day. Even though I was looking forward to being reunited with friends and family, I was still excited for all the adventures and experiences in this last month with Painteddog.tv.
Private Virtual Safaris were one of the big components of this month. I hosted an amazing drive in Portuguese for my family. Being one of nine children, my father has loads of siblings, and my mother, as one of four, is from a big family too. You can imagine the number of uncles, aunts, and cousins that were excited to see me host a live show from South Africa. The best part of it was that my grandmother was able to watch it too. It was a great pleasure to show my family what made me leave Europe and I’m sure I was able to convey that message. With elephants at HQ, we finished off the drive by staying and observing Earth’s largest land mammal for about 30 minutes.
Then, only two days later I had yet another great Live Drive, this time for our Pack Members, Barbara, and Carol. There was a reported leopard up a tree, so I rushed to the site just in time, and the moment we went live, we had a beautiful female leopard up a tree feeding on an impala carcass. It was obvious that the young female in question was one of Pixie pans cubs. With great joy, we could observe her behaviour and cherish her success towards independence. It was my first big cat on a live drive, and I couldn’t have asked for a better sighting nor audience. We spent the entire drive, two hours, with the leopard, for she was as relaxed as a leopard could be.
With a final drive that was free to air on YouTube, I finished off July with gratitude at being able to both host, and present to people with the beauty of the African bush. I will miss Pridelands and the Painteddog.tv team but I’m looking forward to seeing my friends and family and spending some quality time in Zurich, my home. But don’t write me off just yet, I will be back! You can find me on Instagram at @dylan_carvalho_
Our more ‘focused fans’ would have realised that we did not release the film about the elephant move from Phinda to Rietspruit when planned. True to the nature of the project, it proved to be a massive undertaking, and Bryan, our editor extraordinaire, needed more time to work on it and we are very excited by what he has created so far. Though we cannot give you a release date just yet, we are very proud of this one-hour epic and are looking forward to sharing it with the world.
We have a new Live Bush Cam coming on board soon, and although it will be focused on a wild species, it won’t be aimed our usual wonderful creatures we see in our normal home-ranges but will be focused on more aquatic friends on the far end of South Africa!
What to look forward to in August
Live Virtual Elephant Collaring – on Saturday 14 August on behalf of Wild Wonderful World, Ellie & May and Elephants Alive. See Conservation Corner above for more info.
New Live Bush Cams – feeds from a new and very different camera mentioned in Production Punts.
Private Virtual Safaris – Keep an eye on the app, social media, or email*. Click here to watch a teaser, or here for an excellent article in South Africa’s popular travel magazine, Getaway, who reviewed the experience. *Email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the schedule in your inbox.
Free Virtual Safaris every Friday – The free-to-air safaris, sponsored by our Pack Members, will air on our YouTube channel on 13 and 27 August at 15:30 SAST, and Members Only safaris on 6 and 20 August at the same time. To find out more about becoming a member, download the Painteddog.tv app using your smart-phone your phone or available for free on your app store, email email@example.com.
Animal World LIVE – on our YouTube channel on Saturday 28 August at 19:00 SAST.
Thank you also to our generous Patrons and our sponsors – LedLenser SA, Rogue Outdoor Gear, Untamed Brewing Company – as well as Pridelands Conservancy and Kwenga Lodge, where you will find our ‘dog den’. And of course, to all our supporters for running with the pack.
Be sure to keep an eye on the Painteddog.tv app, as well as Painteddog.tv on YouTube, Instagram on @painteddogtv, and Facebook.
A special thanks to
A safari guide, writer and friend of the pack.
With a passion for wildlife, conservation and the written word, Victoria is the perfect person to have composing our monthly newsletter.