This month has definitely been the month of love in the Balule Nature Reserve, we have been fortunate enough to see several different species perform there mating ritual. Our largest pride of lions, The York Pride, have been busy on trying to increase there numbers which stand at 21 presently. We manged to witness two different pairs mating through out the past few weeks and if copulation was successful we could expect between 3 to 6 new members in about 3 months time, lets hold thumbs!
Then a first for me was to witness hippopotamus mating, which is quite something I must say! Mating takes place in the water with the female remaining submerged, except for brief intervals to breath, majority of the males body is above the water due to the fact that he is trying to mount the female. The gestation period is 8 months and the female will leave the safety of the group and find a secluded spot in shallow water to give birth.
The highlight for me for the month was the sighting of Chavaluthu and a female going about there mating ritual. We manged to see them on several occasions during there courtship, making for some amazing viewing. Throughout courtship the pair would remain in close proximity and copulation will occur every 15 -20 minutes for approximately 3 to 4 days. If copulation is successful cubs are born after a gestation period of 106 days in densely vegetated areas or caves, the female will give birth to 2-3 cubs per litter.