On Friday afternoon, the 3rd of February, we were both lucky and unlucky to witness an incredible, albeit distressing event.
A pack of 15 African wild dogs were relaxing around a small water source, north of the lodge. Some of the members were fast asleep, while others were grooming themselves and a few of the youngsters were playing. It was an incredible sighting of these rare creatures in a relaxed state.
Before I could utter a single word to my guests, a fully-grown lioness – later identified as a Styx pride lioness – burst into the open! The pack scattered in all directions trying their level best to get as far away as possible from a very determined feline. Based on the determination and direct approach of this lioness, it seemed she had already identified who to target in the pack. Unfortunately, the casualty in this ambush was one of the young pups. The lioness delivered two bites to the puppy’s spine, which rendered the poor thing completely immobilised.
The lioness quickly dropped the youngster and tried her damnedest to catch more. She was very close on two occasions but fortunately the remaining members managed to escape. The lioness returned to finish off the immobilised puppy, which quickly died due to suffocation.
African wild dog sightings are a rarity and witnessing such an event can be disheartening. However, this is nature’s way. Our best interpretation of this particular situation is that, the lioness being the biggest of the large carnivores in the area, was simply trying to eliminate competition for resources.
* Thank you to guests, Uwe and Brigit Rattman, for the pictures.
Until next time!
Sean Gilbert and Rifos Mnisi
- Birds of prey: Tawny Eagle
- Hyena pounces on an injured impala, by ranger Jamie Sangster