The Animal Kingdom

Yesterday, out of respect for one of our new found friends, we kept the blog to a few lines, but the events of the day demand we add an addendum to that edition.

The entire day is an eye opening experience. It is the first day where the realities of the animal kingdom show us the not so cutesy aspects. We have an omen of the dead elephant carcasses that litter the landscape here but they are just a taste of what is to come. The dying elephant put our minds and hearts in a sad state, and the morning drive was a little somber. We leave on the afternoon drive and Pat jolts the vehicle to a stop. He spots an impala giving birth. The weird part is she is standing and wandering around, not lying down. As we get a better view we all realize the baby is dead and only half emerged from the mother. She does not seem to be able to disengage herself from her burden and it seems both will die.We watch for quite awhile and little or no change is apparent.

Just before lunch we had watched two male lions not three meters from the Landcruiser, lounging away the day as big cats seem to do. We return on the same road after lunch and after spending some time with the birthing impala we move on to find the lions had relocated themselves about 2 meters from where we had seen them earlier, using up all the energy them seem to have. We watch.  Other vehicles come and leave. We watch more.

One of the brothers rises and puts his nose into the air. He deep breathes four or five times. Down the road we see an elephant and her baby cross. Suddenly, the lion rises and trots off in the direction of the elephant.

Debbie says “Run Elephant Run!” The  brother continues to sleep. The mother elephant bellows to try to scare the approaching lion. Lion 2 jumps to his feet and hurries off in the direction of the ruckus. We move quick to follow. The mother, with a confused child, is no match for two lions.

The elephants exit in an attempt to escape. The lions follow and pounce. The lions have downed the baby. We watch horrified but fascinated as the lions suck the life out of their prey. Our mood and hearts sink a little lower. A sad day turns sadder.

Down the road again, we pause to watch a herd of impala. There are a lot of babies. We all seem to be watching one in particular. It moves and in unison we realize it has a gimp leg. It runs well on three, but after what we saw the lions did to the baby elephant, this baby impala is not long for the world.

So ends a day of mixed emotion and survival in the wild.

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