I know I have mentioned some of these cats before – but would like to write about them again.
We never saw a full grown male lion…and though they may be the “King of the Jungle” – the females are the backbone – they are certainly the Queens.
We saw three different prides while we were there:
The first night we saw a pride consisting of four adult females and five cubs – four female and one male. They were wandering and searching….the guide said they were “of the territory”; not staying in one place but certainly within the region. They are not named but recognizable …… the much larger male cub stands out – as does one of the adult females who has a bad hip and limps slightly as well as another with a nipped ear. With five hungry cubs - the moms are always on the hunt. The next morning we came across this pride again. We had just passed some giraffes having their breakfast when we encountered two females …….. slowly we passed another and we realized they had spread out and were watching the approaching giraffes. Motor off – we watched. Suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere appeared half dozen zebras coming right to us – only 75 yds away. It was AMAZING how all lions heads snapped simultaneously - in a nano second - to the zebras. It was surreal as we watched the cats silently stalk and surround …..…. in two seconds it was over - a snap, the pounce the flight ………it stunned us all to see every zebra escape. The cubs would go hungry awhile longer. The guide told us only 1 in 5 attempts is successful.
The next lioness we saw was alone with her single male cub. She was such a sad story; no one knows where she was raised –only that she appeared at Sandi Pitch with her three cubs last February. She is older and considered an enemy to all prides in the area . Sadly, she and her cubs are also considered fair game – in fact, I should say “were” as two have already been killed. The rangers and guides have deduced that it was hyenas that got them …..... a few act as a decoy for the mom – and because she is alone – she would have to leave her babies to hunt and the kill would be made while she was away. It is all very calculated – and very sad. They say there is little hope that either will survive. She broke our hearts.
The third pride we encountered was the largest …….
We watched this group for awhile, followed for a bit - photos were taken and then moved on. Later in the evening – on our second drive of the day we learned that there had been a successful kill and we drove to the area to find a giraffe being devoured by the pride. For some reason, seeing this happen in the wild is not so upsetting and all makes sense. …… and this is coming from one who cries every time Sarah MacLachlan sings on the t.v. ads for stranded hurt animals. Go Figure.
The leopards are the opposite of the lions - they are completely solitary..... well almost. It was very unusual for us to see a male and female together. BUT - it's all about food. The female had a successful kill the night before and the male moved in and took over. The group before us witnessed all this - and watched as the male actually pulled the impala UP A TREE and wedged it between two limbs - eventually allowing the lady to have some dinner as well,
And I already wrote about dear Sahara - a true story of survival.
That's all - I was just so impressed with these incredible woman and they're skills - had to write one more time.