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Lion Kill

Mon 27 Jul 2020

A couple of days ago Glen, our general manager, and Duane our reserve manager received a report from the Anti-Poaching Unit that the lions had killed a young giraffe just off the main road as you head towards Two Cribs. Read his story of a day brimming with adventure:

“I gathered the available staff in the office and workshops and headed off to the site. On arrival, I found that Duane had beaten me there and managed to take this picture with his phone.

Duane moved out and we moved in, but this seemed to annoy the young male who dragged the carcass further into the bush, which made trying to get a decent photo more challenging.

Obviously well-fed, judging by the size of the belly and how little of the carcass was left, the lions soon moved off. I had only seen one lion but the staff with me said that they had seen three.

We decided to wait for a while to see if they would return. We did not have to wait long. A brown hyena appeared on the scene and dragged the carcass even further away and obscuring our vision even more. A black-backed jackal was also observed running around the fringes.

Over the next twenty minutes, three different brown hyenas visited the kill with no animosity nor show of dominance. With the show over for the moment, we returned to the office.

Late that afternoon, I decided that I would return to the site and see what was still there. To my amazement, there was nothing but some flattened grass and a large Lion turd. No scavengers, no vultures, no bones, not even a lot of bloodstains on the grass and no intestine nor stomach content. The kill must have happened in the vicinity and the carcass dragged to where we found it.

Thinking that they would probably need water, I went to Old Man’s Dam in the hope that they would go there. There were two adult giraffes when I arrived, and one was staring intently into the bush. Try as I might I could not see what was attracting his attention. After about 10 minutes of constant concentration in one direction, he lost interest and came to drink with the second giraffe. As he was slightly obscured (because I had stopped next to bushes hoping to break the outline of the vehicle), and as I have a number of pictures of giraffes drinking, I turned my attention to some bird for pictures.

Suddenly, the two giraffes came thundering past me with their long galloping strides. Too quick for me to get a photo they were gone, and I heard their alarm call (yes, contrary to popular belief, giraffes are not mute, but seldom make vocal sounds. Even as they ran they did not vocalise any sound). Looking to see if I could locate the source of their panic, I saw this lioness looking slightly bemused and embarrassed.

After giving me the “hairy eyeball” for a few minutes, she took up an ambush position. Soon after, she was joined by a second lioness who I had not previously seen and the three of us waited patiently for an ambush opportunity to present itself.

Peace reigned for 20 minutes, at which point the younger one got bored and promptly moved out into the open and flopped down. 10 minutes later, the second moved out and flopped down and went to sleep.

I knew then that only two things were likely to happen: 1) They would wait until dark, have a pee, followed by a drink and go hunting. Or, 2) get woken by a contact call and join the rest of the pride. I also knew that I would be unable to follow them as the bush is too thick. But still, I sat in the unrealistic expectation that something spectacular was about to happen. I knew I was right when I heard the snorts of Zebra who were wanting to come for a drink and had eyeballed the sleeping lions from deep in the bush.

With the sun setting and the temperature rapidly dropping I decided it was time to make tracks of my own.”