To watch predators hunt is always a magical sight, but hardly ever do you get the chance to see the actual kill. Some of us can’t always stomach to see a poor defenseless impala getting dragged down by a ferocious lion, but it happens.
The morning started off very quite with a few birds displaying their colors and aerial agility and a few impala rams running around getting ready for the mating season. As I came around a dam wall Magnum my tracker could hear a troop of baboons high up in a tree alarming at something they have spotted. We quickly raced around to the opposite side of the block to find three lions walking down the road, a mother and two sub adults
While following them back the way we came, we realized that there was a group of Impala grazing not to far from where they are now and started to explain what could happen if the lions caught scent of the Impala. I was still talking when suddenly the lions stopped and stared into the bush about 40m in front of them. One by one the lions moved off the road and into cover. I continued forward until we had visual of both the lions and Impala. The mother was leading the hunt with the rest reforming on either side of her.
Very slowly, as if everything was put into slow motion, the lions crept forward.
With her cold piercing eyes focusing on the herd of Impala the leading female froze. She is only 15m meters from a young Impala calf unaware of its impending fate lurking behind cover. It was like the volume was turned right down at this moment, the tension was thick and everyone was on the edge of their seats waiting. The lioness was set like a sprinter waiting for the gun to go, muscles bulging, body flinching with excitement…..
One last calculation and she’s off, two steps and she was around her cover. Each footstep was perfectly placed, each turn was calculated, she’s gaining ground on the Impala that has by now seen the danger and was trying to flee. She swipes at the rump with an outstretched claw and hits the Impala off balance, within seconds she was at the throat and……silence.
By: Rob Brouard – River Lodge Ranger