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    • inyathi
      Ordinarily I wouldn't be that excited to see sambar, but I was very pleased to see these animals on a night drive, in Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam.   Sambar hind, Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam, this hind shows very clearly the so-called sore spot typical of sambar, mentioned in an earlier post             Cat Tien National Park is probably the only protected area left in Vietnam, where sambar are still fairly common, these deer were once found throughout country, but unfortunately sambar venison is so popular in Vietnam, that bushmeat hunters have all but extirpated them from everywhere else, including most protected areas. As an illustration of how popular their meat is and how rare they now are, some restaurants that specialise in bushmeat, will try to pass off muntjac venison as sambar, because they cannot get sambar venison anymore. Poaching for bushmeat is a huge issue in Vietnam and neighbouring countries, all large mammals are now very rare in Indochina, despite there still be being plenty of habitat. On this visit to Vietnam, I don’t recall seeing venison on the menu anywhere, though not everywhere we went had an English menu, so I can’t be sure it wasn’t on offer in some restaurants, we went to, I would definitely not have ordered it, if it had been. Any tourists visiting Indochina ought to be aware of the bushmeat issue, and avoid ordering anything in a restaurant, that could be wild meat. Tourists who aren’t aware of the problem and who eat venison in their home country, might not realise that they should not eat venison in Indochina. I happily eat venison at home, now and again, because I know exactly where it has come from, if I went to a decent restaurant anywhere here, I would not be at all concerned to see it on the menu, whereas I would never order venison anywhere in the Far East, where you can guarantee that it has been hunted unsustainably, from the nearest forest.     
    • Zubbie15
      Thanks Hari, I didn't realize Asilia had those types of vehicles. They don't seem to be cheap, but they definitely offer a different view from what most people get. Something to think about for the future... 
    • inyathi
      @kittykat23ukGreat videos, regrettably I didn't have have the video option when I first went to Brazil, when we found some giant otters at their holt, the view was not great but their calls were just extraordinary, I would love to have had video just to capture the sound. I think since otters have now been protected in the UK for a good while, they are probably more diurnal, than they perhaps used to be, whether you see them or not may depend on how used to people they are, I don't expect to get lucky and see my otter/s again that well, I've not seen any spraint which makes me think they've moved on, if I'd found some I would have put my trail camera up, but when I put new batteries in it, it didn't switch on, so maybe it's dead, I don't know .     Some Giant Otters in Parque Estadual Encontro das Águas in the Pantanal in 2012                       From 2016                             This shot shows off the unique spots on a Giant Otters neck, that make it possible to tell different otters apart       I considered clearing up the following photos to make them less misty, but as they are they show how awful the weather was, this was the only time I've seen them fully out of the water.                      A good view of an otters tail, that illustrates why they are such fast swimmers         In 2016 I did have a camera that can shoot video, but I only took some very short sequences and unfortunately didn't capture any of their calls 
    • madaboutcheetah
      @ElenaH- YF - yellow fever certificate    thanks a lot for your kind words.... yes, closest will possibly be Lemala Nanyukie (I have not been).  They have some very good game drive area also in their vicinity .... 
    • ElenaH
      absolutely brillant photos, Hari @madaboutcheetah!! Each time I see update in this thread - I watch from the beginning to scroll all the photographs again. I also like wildebeast and flamingos. ;-) All pictures of an outstanding quolity! It looks like when you take a gear into your hands it turns to an excellent picture independently on a subject. However, the subjects are amazing! Those two lions, a lion on the hill, cheetah... This Grace is a good mother! She rises four cubs, teaches them to hunt... Remarkable cat.  I've never been to Serengeti but your sightings made me curious... Asilia looks very luxury, offers some discounts but I cannot find any rates. Interestingly the other camps/lodges are about 15km away. If they also have such good sightings? What is YF Certification?
    • ice
      Saturday February 27th   Our first destination on this morning drive is Kusini Plains. Unfortunately, the two cheetah brothers have wandered off overnight. Hamisi later hears over the radio that around the time we were looking for them, the cats killed a gnu calf just a few kilometers away. Well, maybe we'll have better luck here and now in the Makao Plains.    After sixty hours without precipitation, today for the first time Hamisi is not the only guide who has steered his Landcruiser to this southern part of the Conservation Area.    During the last 24 h the number of zebras and wildebeest seems to have doubled again - however, no cheetah to be found, so back to Kusini Plains. There, we see a group of cars in the distance. The radio tells us that Hamisi's colleagues have gathered around a cheetah that has just killed a hare. Hamisi has already turned his vehicle to join the other guides, when I spot yet another cheetah, right behind us, with a lone gazelle almost in striking distance.   However, the cat takes its time - too much time. 45 minutes later the gazelle has picked up on her enemy. Another 45 minutes later the cheetah gets another chance: a small herd of thommies. This time it does not hesitate but starts to hunt in full speed - and misses.   Our morning drive ends with the third (and final) sighting of the striped hyena.     More luck in the afternoon: I have heard about her before, now for the first time I film and photograph her: a cheetah mum with three cubs.        it is of course still too early to draw a conclusion about this trip. But one thing strikes me already now, slightly later than half time: it took us seven days to find an adult female cheetah with offspring. During the green season safaris in 2014 and 2016 it was completely different, at that time adult animals without youngsters were the exception.   For Hamisi and me, there is only one possible explanation: this decrease is a direct result of the just as obviously increasing number of spotted hyenas. Whether these spotted hyenas “only” drive away the female cheetahs or actually kill their cubs is of secondary importance (for me as a tourist). And we are definitely not the only ones who fear similar conditions for the Conservation Area as for the Ngorongoro Crater: there, because of the unhealthy large number of spotted hyenas, cheetahs have not been not sighted for ages.   We spend the entire afternoon with the cats. No action to be reported but I don't care, just watching the cubs play and practice their skills is fun and joy enough.  
    • madaboutcheetah
      Thanks a lot @Kitsafariand @Zubbie15   I do like the front seat next to driver a lot ........     These particular photos are from the Asilia photographic vehicle with the open sides - flat on the floor........ 
    • JayRon
      That is just an insane statistic    I seen failed cheetah hunts in Ngorongoro, failed lion hunts in Serengeti (with a guide) and just missed a cheetah killing a young wildebeest in Kgalagadi, but I will keep on trying  The reason I do selfdrive is it keep costs down and when you travel with a wife and 2 kids you need that ....  
    • ice
      I certainly agree - without revealing too much: as of now I have witnessed  22 cheetah kills 5 lion kills 1 leopard kill plus a few wild dog kills and that jackal kill. Of these 28 cat kills, 25 took place around Ndutu, the others in Kruger Park (2) and in Kgalagadi (1). However, I am just as sure that you need a great local guide; as a self driver it's more or less a matter of luck (which I had twice, in Kruger and in Kgalagadi).
    • JayRon
      I read your previous trip report from Ndutu, which I very much enjoyed.  And again it is incredible that you are seeing so many cats... And even an striped hyena, never seen one. I have spent 7-8 months on safari( most on self drive) and never seen a kill, but in Ndutu it looks like it is pretty common thing, which is amazing . Looking forward to more  
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