The month of June brought a much-needed pack regrouping. With the full complement of the pack back at the Painddog.tv den, things settled down for the first time in a long time. That said, there is hardly a day in our Pridelands territory and beyond where there isn’t something exciting going on. So, let’s get into it!
In the second half of June, we were lucky enough to host fellow conservationist, biologist, and friend of the pack, Zachary Blake (Zach). Some of you might remember Zach as a guest on Animal World LIVE in February 2020.
Based in San Francisco, Zach is the the Assistant Director of conservation NGO S.P.E.C.I.E.S. He found himself back in South Africa continuing his conservation work in the Soutpansberg Mountains – an area famous for some of the largest leopards in Africa! Zach and his organisation are working to help our friends the Endangered Wildlife Trust gather information on the leopard population of Soutpansberg, using camera traps; part of S.P.E.C.I.E.S. Cameras4Conservation project.
While visiting the Paintddog.tv den, Zach brought a couple of camera traps with him to try and help us understand more about the leopard population on the Pridelands Conservancy. We are no strangers to viewing wildlife through cameras in the middle of the bush, and cannot wait to see what gets captured on the camera traps Zach set up! You can follow Zach on Instagram on @pantheragenera.
Animal World LIVE
Animal World LIVE continued to deliver top-class entertainment through June. Having found their groove in May, the dynamic duo of Yuka and Dylan returned to their seats to present the first AWL of the month. Though Brent was not presenting, he could hardly resist making an appearance, and he came bearing gifts! After using the leopard skull to assist in an unboxing process, an assortment of Rogue hats was revealed. Thank you Rogue!
Hyena cubs, buffalos at sunset, and sharks in the ocean all featured in the segment devoted to viewers’ photographic submissions.
Dylan shared a project that he had created, an episode that stars the spotted hyenas of Pridelands. After a discussion about the spotted hyenas, the final act of the evening was a clip showing a wild dog collaring and relocation operation involving both Painteddog.tv and EWT.
The second AWL of June was held on the 19th of June. With a host combination of Yuka and Brent, the show was off to a jovial start as Brent teased Yuka for wearing her slippers while presenting. After having a giggle at Yuka’s choice of footwear, it was time for the main event: showcasing epic moments that have been captured on our live cams. The first clip showcased a late-night visit from a large herd of buffalo on the Pridelands HQ Elephant Cam. The second clip featured a nocturnal friend, a porcupine, clips of a slender mongoose, of zebra and impala drinking, elephants, cheeky dwarf mongooses, a rhino bull and Lagertha on the hunt, created a wonderful tempo for the show.
Just as Wium was about to roll the next highlights clip, the show was rudely interrupted. Strange noises captured the attention of the hosts, and after succumbing to curiosity, Brent left his hosting chair only to return with a Turner’s Thick-toed gecko in his hand. The gecko had dropped from the roof, almost landing on Brent, thus providing an excellent opportunity to witness wildlife live. With fur in his mouth and his tail missing, the new reptilian star of the show, had Brent and Yuka bouncing theories around that best fit the mystery. Could he have gobbled a young mouse, or escaped the jaws of a predator?
Having hardly recommenced the proceedings for the evening, the show was interrupted once more, this time with real-time activity on the live hyena den cam. Beautiful scenes were shown of hyena triplets, squittering (the term given to the noise young hyenas make) and scampering around their mother.
Private Virtual Safari Synopsis
Having been out of the country for the majority of May, it was a welcome treat to have Brent back in the hot seat and hosting the first Private Virtual Safari of June. The two-hour safari began with a sighting of Dex, a collared elephant bull, quenching his thirst at Ndlovu dam. Naturally, the ‘bling’ this elephant adorned sparked a conversation about the collaring of wild elephants. Did you know, in order to keep the receiver on top of the elephant’s neck, a balancing weight is attached to the opposite side of the collar?
After enjoying the sighting of Dex and his askari, the ‘hunt’ was on to find lions. Unfortunately, no lions were found but in the search, Brent facilitated a wonderfully informative conversation about the management of wild lions in private reserves. The viewers were captivated by the complexities of reserve management and were even given a little teaser of what might be in the pipelines in the next few months. Here’s a hint, it involves lions and live streams.
The rest of the evening drive was filled with visits to historical sites, scenic views of Mariepskop mountain, adorable and rotund hyena cubs, and a warm winter sunset.
Two live drives were held on the 19th of June. Brent hosted the morning safari and Yuka hosted the afternoon safari. After Brent had success with locating a pack of three wild dogs, Yuka embarked on a mission that afternoon to relocate the dogs once more.
The team of Yuka and Matthew were put to the test on their first PVS as a pair, as The Mongoose was not making life easy. With a glitchy starter motor, Matthew was forced to make his first PVS appearance as he tinkered with a fuse in front of the camera. Even with the car playing up, the afternoon was spectacular. Yuka managed to give the PVS goers a wonderful kudu bull sighting, a wild dog sighting, a sighting with angry elephants, a beautiful hyena cub sighting, and many entertaining discussions in between.
For more information about the world’s first and only private virtual safari, click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org
An Intern Out & About – Dylan Carvalho from EcoTraining
June was plagued by car issues. It was a huge setback, not only for live events but also to go out daily looking for and filming animals.
Earlier this month the arrival of hyena triplets at the Pridelands den surprised everyone! “Melomom” is the individual we identified as the mother of the triplets. As if that was not enough, another cub appeared, belonging to an individual known as “17”, or Saseka, which means pretty in Tsonga. I was especially partial to the idea of filming the Hyena triplets as it is such a rare sight.
I have embraced the project to follow up on the Pridelands hyena clan but now found myself occasionally trapped within our house with cars in repair. And when I finally got to visit the den site in pursuit of filming the triplets, I found out that the mother Saseka was a very skittish female. When approaching from a road parallel to the den she bolted into the bushes. That meant that she was so afraid of cars, she was long gone before we even got to the road that leads to the den.
For 5 consecutive days, we were able to head to the den. Our idea was to get Saseka used to cars, by exposing her to them daily and in a non-aggressive way. We started by stopping the car 30m away from the den and just waiting and observing her on the live cam. It was such a huge contrast to the two prior cubs Melo and Sparky, where you could drive right to the den without them even standing up! We figured that if we can get the female comfortable around the cars, surely she and the other cubs would feel safe around us and accept our presence.
We made progress over the days. In the beginning, she fled the moment she heard the car. Now when we gave her space, she waited, observed us for 2 minutes, before moving away into the bush. We have not yet been able to make the female hyena comfortable around us, but we keep trying and so I hope that maybe in July we will succeed in filming the hyena triplets! Despite the challenges with habituating the hyenas we had great Leopard sightings and further amazing big cat footage on the Live Bush Cams. All in
all, it was a challenging time, but extremely exciting throughout the month.
You can find me on Instagram at @dylan_carvalho_
Wium our CTO, Bavu (back at the den for a couple of weeks), and Wium’s nephew, Gert, loaded the Green-Mamba Land Rover with some fancy live-streaming cameras, broadcasting equipment, and headed 500 km West to another wild area on the opposite side of South Africa’s Limpopo Province where we currently are.
Alongside an incredible NGO, one that is close to our hearts, we have been hard at work on an exciting new project. The fun stuff began right near the end of June, and our small but dedicated team had to hustle to get everything into place on time while continuing with everything else we have going on! We are dying to tell you what it is all about, but for now, let us just say it involves our favourite animal and an old friend/organisation doing incredible work for African wildlife.
What to look forward to in July
New Live Bush Cams – feeds, from the cameras mentioned above in Production Punts!
Private Virtual Safaris – every weekend. 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 email@example.com to receive the schedule in your inbox.
Free Virtual Safaris every Friday – The free-to-air safaris, sponsored by the Members of Painteddog, will air on our YouTube channel on 16 and 30 July at 15:30 SAST, and Members Only safaris on 9 and 23 July 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.
Animal World LIVE – on our YouTube channel on Saturdays 17 and 31 July 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.