I know so many of us have followed the lives of our beloved lions, leopards, and cheetahs on the Forum. Some of the ‘mites have started threads so we can watch the lives of those we fell in love with,( either after visiting the KTP or reading about them here), unfold. We have rejoiced, shed many a tear, and fretted often, over news or lack thereof. They are members of our extended families.
I will first relate something that happened while on our way to Grootkolk and then the following morning, and while the actual photo is practically useless visually, but the sequence of events, as they took place were very poignant to me.
On our drive to Grootkolk, there were two lion brothers who had taken down an adult hartebeast.
They were fat and full, and laying in the road, bellies processing their meal for tomorrow or the next day’s energy to hunt yet again.
The dead hartebeast, ruby red rib bones shining behind an equally dead tree stump, was a forgotten soul. I wondered at the time if the hartebeast’s family remembered, and were puzzled by his absence. Or was he just a lone creature, dear to no earthly heart.
Our next day’s early morning drive included a hartebeast couple who had just given birth to a newborn, who was suckling for the first time, though very, very far away.
The afterbirth, still attached, reminded me of the glistening crimson blood of the dead hartebeast. Death, birth, and renewal. It’s a harsh reality, as well as a promise for tomorrow.
So it is that spirit that I share with you some of tomorrow’s rising stars who you may meet in your travels along the Kalahari roads.
As we travelled the dune road to go to Nossob, we could see there was a leopard at the waterhole (the one set farther back off the main road), so excitedly took the small approach road. The bushes obstructed our view, so we just stopped to wait and see if it would emerge. Suddenly, not more than 3 meters from my window, out popped a gorgeous face!
Ed quickly raised the window, as she was SO close...and we could now see she also had a youngster in tow, so didn’t want to risk her feeling threatened.
She decided it was safe to cross the road, did so, and disappeared over the dune. Her “kid” was more leery, but finally bounded out of the brush and quickly caught up with his (?) security blanket.
I don’t know which leopard this may be, so if any of you do, please let us know.
Another newborn sighting was a first for us, and we initially thought the jackal had stolen a baby fox,
but after reviewing the photos back at home, we realized it was her own baby she was moving to a new place. ADORABLE!!
Some Forum members will remember the lioness who, 2 years ago, carried her dead newborn, then 2 other live ones, and put them under a “tree” right beside the road on the Marie se Drai loop. Well, deja vue! This year that very same tree has 2 more teeny-tiny just born lion cubs! I could never get a decent photo, as the branches are now practically impenetrable, but here’s a photo of mom keeping a careful eye on them from across the road. Is it in all likelihood the same lioness?
And lastly, we watched a future star in the making,( though I don’t believe that we’ll be able to know exactly which one he is as he grows up. )
There was a large lion carefully guarding a kill behind alot of brush and a fallen tree.
Late that afternoon two lion cubs emerged from over the dune and made their way through the grasses toward the food. The male quickly let out a few loud growls and snarls. The one little cub cowered, and shrank down into the long grasses, where dad glowered and intimidated it into submission.
The other little cub would have no part of this false bravado, and continued to emerge from the grass, approached the carcass, and engaged dad in a staring contest that seemed to go on and on. They were on opposite sides of the wildebeest, and the little cub just kept its eyes glued on dad’s eyes, and e-v-e-r so s-l-o-w-l-y moved closer, closer, closer to the food. We could see very clearly through the binoculars, but the brush made for lousy photos, so we just enjoyed watching the challenge. Eventually the cub made it close enough to take a bite, and dad must have respected the cubs REAL bravado, and they both ate together peacefully.
After the two "men of the house" were full, mom came down and escorted the shy one down for a bite to eat as well.
This cub will be a force to be reckoned with in the future!