Friday, April 20, 2012

Late night dinner

Going 'on safari' as a tourist is very special for me. It reminds me how amazing it is to be able to work in the bush, especially as a Kaaskop (local word for Dutch person). Before I moved to South Africa to work as a wildlife vet in 2008, a safari was the only way to see wild animals and it always touched me deeply. I remember seeing the first wild animal again, after working as an all-round vet in the Netherlands and the UK for 3 years. We were in Etosha, Namibia. It was 2004. A lone zebra stallion was wandering around. Nobody was feeding it, nobody was looking after it: completely independent and wild. Pure nature. I started crying from happiness! My boyfriend at the time, said that he was jalous that seeing one zebra could make me SO happy. It was special that it felt that strong. At that moment I decided to dedicate my life to wildlife. There was no choice and never regret it.
Sabie Sands is famous for her lions. We were lucky and found 5 lionesses enjoying a fresh buffalo kill. Amazing! Lions are one of my most favorite wild animals to spot in the wild. Their social behaviour is unique in the animal kingdom: the only true social cat in the world (our domestic cats are bred and forced to live with each other). Also unique is the coalition between male lions, which means that they dominate and share all females of their pride together. The larger the pride, the more males are needed to be able to rule. Sometimes 3 males work together such a coalition. It's fascinating that these sometimes non-related males accept from each other to mate with each others females.
The next morning I asked the ranger to go back to the same spot, as I expected to find them there again. It's not easy to move with a large stomach and better to stay with such a large prey until its completely finished. Lions often hang around large carcasses for days, feeding and sleeping. And yes: they were there, exactly as expected: some sleeping, some eating, but all lazy with a huge stomach. Good times for this pride and for us, watching them for a long time. What a pleasure.

No comments: