This is my second time to the “dark continent” of Africa. (It’s called that, I’m convinced, because of its lack of cell towers/internet speeds). Favorite things are looking at the beautiful prehistoric/unreal looking landscape and game drives.
I’ve been on dozens of game drives. We saw lots of animals eating other animals… On our first day we saw a bunch of vultures munching on the remnants of something. Then a jackal came and took a few bites, but then was shoo’d off by a pair of hyenas who promptly pissed all over the carcass, therefore marking it and making it, uh, taste gross for everyone (except the non-picky hyenas).
But it wasn’t until this past trip when I finally got to see the elusive “kill” that I’ve always been seconds too late to see.
The last day in the Serengeti. The morning proved successful with a few leopards hanging out in trees,
lots of cake! (story on that for later),
A lone bull elephant,
and all the typical African critters. (note: some taste better than others.)
Then we saw a pride of lion. They were caught napping by the road during a down pour. (I bless the Rains down in Africa 🎶)
The rain stopped and it was potential nap time again. (Yawn)
Meanwhile……. On the other side of the road was a jackal that was chasing down a mama wildebeest and her BRAND NEW (born a few hours ago) baby…
The trick to this is to separate a mom and baby from the herd, and then separate the mom and baby- go for the baby.
The jackal had separated them from the herd and ran them right into a cackle of hyena (yes, the grouping name of hyena is called a “cackle”)…
The hyena, being opportunists, took over the chase and picked up the pace, separated the mother and baby and chased the baby straight across the road and into……
The pride of lions.
The lions are also opportunists and a lioness took one swipe and knocked the baby to the ground and started chasing after the mother.
A male lion picked up the dazed baby (by the head, not dead yet) and flaunted “his excellent hunting abilities” around to the pissed off hyenas and jackal.
You know when a kid gets a new electronic toy and wants to explain all the details and gadgets and gizmos of the thing? This flaunting went on longer than that.
The mother wildebeest was beside herself. Circling around the whole mess calling out to her baby. The baby, still alive and struggling in the lion’s mouth, was bleating and trying to escape the lion’s jaws. The hyenas were carrying on and poor jackal was left out in the cold.
The crunching of a skull is a very memorable sound.
The irony is that the baby wildebeest wouldn’t fill any of those creatures. It’s simply an appetizer.
All in total there were 5 lion, 9 hyena, and 1 jackal.
(This is a photo of a jackal- but from Etosha National Park- not that day in the Serengeti.)
MEANWHILE!!! While all that was going on, behind us was a herd of zebra and wildebeest. A young wildebeest was separated from its mom (for whatever reason) and a male wildebeest was attacking it!
A zebra caught what was going on and came to the rescue and kicked the living shit out of the male wildebeest! The young wildebeest scurried off, saved to live… For another few hours anyway.
Hours later, my mom asked me if I got sad for the caught baby wildebeest. I looked at her, as I ate my steak, and said “no. It’s the circle of life.”
The look that a mother gives you when she thinks you’re a sociopath is also unforgettable.
It was a glorious day.