Monthly Archives: July 2015

Leucism in Animals

Leucism is a condition caused by the expression of a recessive gene. The genes primarily responsible for leucism are the c-kit gene and the mitf gene. During the embryonic state, these genes produce a defective transmembrane protein which results in a lack of melanocytes or cells capable of making pigment. As a result, the animal exhibits white coat color or patches over the body.

Generally, leucistic animals retain some part of their normal pigmentation, and partial expression of leucism can be exhibited in the form of an animal having spotted or piebald appearance. The skin appears pink, its coat or fur color may vary from blond to beige to pure white.

In the animal world though, leucism tends to be disadvantageous, since the animal loses the advantage of camouflage that markings on the skin or colored coat present. Leucism is often confused with albinism, but there are significant differences between the two.

White Buffalo Calf born on Sibuya Game Reserve July 2015

Cheetah Facts

The Cheetah is credited as being the fastest land animal over short distances, and can reach speeds of up to 90 km/h (55.9 m/h) in pursuit of prey. This Cat is characterised by a slender body, long legs, and a distinctly rounded head with small rounded ears which are set wide apart.

Cheetah

It measures two metres from the snout to the tip of the tail, has a mass of 40 – 60 Kg’s, and stands about 800mm high. It has a concave back and lower hind quarters. This Cat is characterised by a strongly spotted coat and by a long tail which is half as long as the length of its head and body. The tail has a unique pattern of striped markings.

Diet

The Cheetah’s main prey is medium to small antelope such as Steenbok and Duiker, Thomson’s Gazelle and Springbok, but there have been accounts of males grouping together to hunt larger prey such as Wildebeest. They also prey on Baboons, ground-living Birds, Bustards, Hares and Porcupines.

Breeding

Cheetahs do not have a fixed seasonal breeding cycle and in this too, they are similar to leopards. Cheetah cubs are born after a gestation period of about three months. Usually two cubs are born in the litter, but occasionally there are up to six. Cubs stay with their mother for about two years, but sadly, most of them never live to adulthood because they are preyed upon by Lions, Leopards, Hyenas, Foxes and Eagles, to name but a few. Being a comparatively frail Cat, the mother often has to give up her young or risk being killed herself. However in areas where there is good cover or few predators, the possibility of a Cheetah’s survival is quite good.

Behaviour

They live in family groups of two to six strong, although some individuals prefer a solitary existence at times. Its historical distribution has been greatly reduced and modified. Cheetahs have disappeared from very large areas of the African continent due to modern man’s colonisation. Cheetahs are predominantly diurnal, with peaks of activity at sunrise and sunset. Choosing an elevated resting place, they lie up in the shade during the hottest hours of the day. Those who have never heard a Cheetah’s call will be very surprised to hear it make an almost bird-like chirp. While they also growl, snarl and hiss like domestic Cats, they do not roar as some people might expect them to.

Habitat

Prefers to frequent open plains as is often depicted in films, but they are also at home in the savannah woodland areas of Sibuya Game Reserve.

Sibuya Rhino Sanctuary

Sibuya Game Reserve is large enough to accommodate up to 100 rhino – Their aim is to convert the reserve into a rhino sanctuary where they can protect these beautiful beasts from the poaching scourge. In order to do so they need to secure the entire reserve with the latest most advanced anti-poaching technology that would guarantee them a 99% safe ‘rhino friendly’ zone, they are therefore looking for a donor or donors that can partner with them so that they can purchase the equipment needed to secure the property. Please contact or visit the Sibuya Rhino Foundation page for more information in this regard.

[Video] The Last Stand – Sibuya Rhino Foundation

On the Ground with South Africa’s Anti-Poaching Units!
by Angie Raab

edit: Jeremy Scott Foster
photos: Clare James, Angie Raab

Haunted eyes and fatigue etch their faces and exhaustion resounds in their voice. Why would someone risk their life everyday as the last barrier between the poachers ravaging Africa’s rhino population and the rhino itself?

It’s the love for South Africa, a country with a uniqueness that spans from the Black Rhino in Kruger National Park to the breaching whales along their endless coastline. It’s the love for the gentle giants and the diverse wildlife roaming more types of terrain than your camera could handle.

The Anti-Poaching Units (APU) in South Africa battle immense humidity and heat during the summer season and brave through storms, rain and the cold in the winter months. Long days and nights result in a lack of sleep, no private life and long, gruesome weeks or months away from loved ones. It’s relentless, and takes its toll on both relationships and the soul.

I accompanied the men of one of the teams of the Sibuya Game Reserve to experience their work and spread the word of their fight to protect the remaining rhino and other African wildlife.

Click here to read the entire article.

Please take a minute and watch this trailer to the documentary “The last Stand”, showing the work of Sibuya Rhino Foundation