Saturday, August 30, 2014

Africa 6: We Come Upon a Lioness with a Fresh Kill

This was the dry season.  Other sources of water have dried up, forcing the animals to visit the river in order to get water.

That's good news for predators, like the crocodile, above.  Notice how well he blends in to his surroundings.  But bad news for other animals.

Animals like this Waterbuck, who was grazing maybe 100 feet away.  But, also animals like baby elephants.

We were one of the first to arrive on the scene of a very fresh kill.  Our driver guides pulled us up near her.

She was maybe fifteen feet away from our truck, but seemed unconcerned about our presence.

Even baby elephants have very tough hides.  It takes her a while to chew her way through it.

Our guides say that, for the most part, the animals see our trucks as one large object.  They do not differentiate individual people sitting in the truck from the truck itself.
 Moments later, a new arrival pulled up and parked right next to her.  They would remain safe as long as they did not hang out of the truck or in any way give her a clue they were separate beings from the truck.

She stopped for a moment and gave them a low growl.  When she was sure they weren't coming after her kill, she resumed her meal.  By this time, probably twenty trucks had showed up. 

We had taken plenty of pictures, so our guide said that it was time to leave and give others a chance to see her.  That was fine.  We left, and saw this Yellow-Billed Stork, among lots of other things.

When we came back an hour or so later, a younger lion was feeding on the carcass, which was pretty well chewed up by then.

We looked past the carcass into the bushes and saw the mother, her belly quite full, resting in the shade while the cub finished eating.

The rest of the shots I took here get quite graphic, so I've left them out.  Suffice it to say that it was a really good day for these lions, but a terrible day for the baby elephant.  Such are the ways of nature.

Not long after, we came upon this female elephant who was standing nearly motionless, rocking slowly back and forth, exuding a profound sadness we all felt.  Could this be the mother who lost her calf?  We'll never know.

Next time, we see leopards in trees.

Continue on to Post 7: Leopards in a Trees, by clicking here.


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