And then they were gone…
The vast herds of wildebeest have moved on, leaving a void of emptiness and quiet. The constant calling and ever present multitudes that were here such a short while ago seemed to disappear overnight. The reminders of their passing are the orphans and young calves that got separated from their dams, or the odd bull looking and calling mournfully for a cow, or searching in vain for a harem.
They have moved on in search of “greener pastures”, an endless circuit that takes them to where they will find food and water to feed the masses. A search that is never ending but one that will take them back to areas they have visited for millennia. Some of these areas enjoy the full protection of all wildlife, whilst others have only a token protection. Despite this they succeed, for how long though………..?
This month I witnessed how predators are so incredibly good at assessing a situation, weighing up the potential benefits of a hunt and analysing the potential costs or risks at the same time.
We set off under the cover of darkness in the early morning and on to one of my favourite drainage lines to look for lions. As it began to get light I caught site of the Butamtam lionesses and their youngsters. We gently approached the lionesses and then switched the engine off and watched. One of the more mature lionesses, the daughter of ‘Mama Scar’, was busy nursing her five youngsters. This is interesting as lionesses only possess four teats.
I was out one morning looking for elephants as my guests were still hoping for further interaction with these special creatures. What we came across that day, we could not have prepared for – it was simply magical.