It is always wonderful to write and comment on all the great and exciting things we see and experience on the reserve, and more so during this time of the year when there are plenty of babies from all species to report on. Unfortunately, even during these times, things can go horribly wrong and nature shows you exactly how tough it is for anything to survive out there or how quickly it could turn deadly.
I thought at first that an “event” like this should maybe not be included on the blog, purely because it is so sad and may be disturbing to our readers, but it would be wrong since this is nature, and except for all the wonderful things we experience, sometimes nature throws a curve ball which makes the most experienced guides’ eyes well up with tears, and even though it is not as exciting and intriguing as some of the posts here it is an equally big and important part of nature and our lives.
This morning we had one of those very emotional experiences as we discovered that our eastern sector lion cubs (about 8 weeks old) had been killed by Buffalo! We only found two, but most likely the third one had the same fate.
The Buffalo had left by the time we found the dead cubs trampled into the mud, but the tracks and signs of the buffalo herd all over the show indicated clearly that they were the ones responsible for goring and trampling these cubs to death.
Strangely enough wile we were trying to get over the shock of the dead cubs around us, some elephants walked passed and shown none of the fascination they normally display with dead animals and or carcasses, and I couldn’t help but think about an experience also reported on previously on this blog about the Elephants trying to get to and kill the lions.
Incidents like this are natural, although alarming, especially to our guests. The fact is that predators, although on top of the food chain, has enemies too and often sustain serious injuries and even get killed wile hunting prey. Buffalo especially are notorious for their bad temper, and would not let a chance go by to get back at the predators that normally persecute them. Unfortunately these cubs were in the wrong place at the wrong time and it cost them their lives. The mother may have been there to try and defend her cubs, but one lioness up against probably 60 buffalo would be suicide, and she will before long go into oestrus and have cubs again, hopefully with better luck next time.
It was a fascinating drive… very eventful, but one me and my guests would rather try and forget as soon as possible.
Ranger – Kapama Main Lodge