Now I have mentioned this before………
“Every now and then………..”
Yes……..!! I was blessed once a gain yesterday on my afternoon safari in the northern part of the Madikwe Game Reserve whilst guiding my guests staying with us at Tuningi Safari Lodge.
It started out as safari’s do in the afternoon with all the animals not showing themselves for the first hour or so, as they still are in rest mode hiding from the afternoon sun.
But as it started cooling down the bush started waking up, and we bumped into a lone elephant enjoying the lush greenery available to him, and the guests marveled at the dexterity of his trunk as they viewed the big beast from a couple meters away. After a short bumble down the road a dazzle of zebra came running down the road in front of us all rushing to get the prime spot on a small water puddle that had formed next to the road. And displayed their uniqueness in full splendor, as only they can.
A short while later I had heard on the radio that they had located on the South Pack of Wild Dogs, and that they were just resting in some long grass making the visual very poor.
I decided to delay my visit to them, and went looking for a leopard in the Inselbergs instead, but to no avail.
So then the call came that the Dogs were waking up, and started walking north up the road… this is when we joined, and everything seemed perfect as the light was just starting to get sweet for photography, and the dogs were cooperating nicely as they walked right past the vehicle for us to get some awesome frontal shots.
It was not long before we noticed some wildebeest to the west of the pack, and they had no idea the dogs were getting closer to them. The pack however did not pick up on them at all, probably because the wind was blowing in the wrong direction, so the wildebeest escaped harassment for today.
Then they suddenly turned east…. Sniffing the air with some serious intent !! I scanned the eastern side of the pack to find that there were some kudu standing dead still with ears and eyes forward, and you could sense their fear as they knew the dogs were onto them………
Sprint…… the dogs took off, and the chase was on !!
The kudu seemed to be getting the better of the dogs, and our attention was so fixated on the dogs and the kudu, that we did not notice the charging lioness to our left moving at some exhilarating pace. When we focused our attention to the lioness we saw that she was after one of the Wild Dogs, and she was gaining ground on him very quickly as the canine struggled to get traction in the long grass.
She had the dog in her jaws !!!
The wild dog gave out such a scream on impact that the other dogs immediately stopped their pursuit of the kudu, and came back to the direction the screams for help were coming from, which was a mere 10 meters from our vehicle.
The feeling of amazement, astonishment, and flabbergastedness, hit me all at once, as I turned to my guests just to find them all suffering from the same emotions, and trying to absorb what they had just witnessed.
But this was not the end…..
As this lioness was attempting to kill this wild dog, the rest of the pack came back for a closer look to see what the victim was screaming about, and on realizing that it was a lioness, they started their high pitched giggling noises to distract the lioness, but this was short-lived, as another lioness came charging out of the long grass and the pack scattered again with the lioness in tow…. She did not get another wild dog, but got very close and soon returned to the other lioness which had by now been joined by 3 cubs which were playing with the lifeless body.
As soon as the lion cubs lost interest in the motionless wild dog, they moved away slightly, and started greeting each other as if to confirm the good deed that was done by them to eradicate one of the competition.
“ THERE HE GOES !!!! ”
Unbelievably, the wild dog stood up and ran as fast his legs could carry him, much to the amazement of the very chuffed lions. The lions sniffed the place where he had been placed and smelled the air with much confusion on their faces.
If you look at the close up image of the lioness holding the wild dog in her teeth, you will see that she has not got a proper pharyngeal clamp on the dog’s throat, and by some miraculous event, the wild dog must have played dead, and as soon as the lions lost interest in him, he got up and ran like hell !!
Well…. This is something that I have not witnessed in 14 years of guiding, as the lions are usually the winners in these predator vs predator battles, and my guests were all too glad to see the happy ending to this epic sighting.
Until next time,