Hennie van Heerden's Wildlife Diary

November 12, 2010

The ways of Mother Nature..

Filed under: 2010,November — Hennie van Heerden @ 1:50 pm

I believe strongly that there is a purpose for everthing in Nature. Things that might seem cruel to us humans are simple facts of life in the animal world. The big cat that kills an Impala does not do that out of cruelty but because of the simple fact that it has to eat. It was designed that way. I don’t like to watch an animal die – any animal – but I do accept it as a natural necessity.

With that in mind we had gone out in the morning and immediately went to the riverbed to see what had become of the unfortunate Ostrich. Sure enough she had met her fate during the previous night. There were Leopard tracks all around her carcass and the majority of the meat had been eaten already when we arrived at 6AM. A family of Jackal finished what was left of the Ostrich and Vultures were circling the air. With the leopard smell still all over the carcass the Jackal ate quickly and were very skittish.
Well, at least the Ostrich didn’t die in vane..

When we went on the birds seemed to show themselves from their most splendid side. The Lilac Breasted Roller (left) and the White Fronted Bee-Eaters (right) seemed like flying color palettes..

 We had coffee under one of the gorgeous Mashatu trees. I think the Landcruiser next to it gives a fair idea of the size of these giants. Excellent Leopard trees! 🙂
The river had filled up overnight and the animals were having a ball. Birds splashed around in the water and elephants were entering the area. Elvis told me that there is a certain bend in the river where, when the river is completely full, elephants from all neighbouring areas come to feed and bathe. Apparently the Gentle Giants remember this place and return each year. Must be a fantastic sight!!

Just before the sun would set we found a lioness with 3 little cubs. The cubs were playing while mom tried to get her  afternoon rest. But no such thing with the 3 youngsters around!! They used mom’s tail as plaything and bit in her ears and nose. Fantastic to see how gentle and patiently she was with her cubs. Especially since this particular lioness has a history of abandoning her cubs before they are able to sustain themselves. Fortunately, some of the cubs of previous litters had survived and have formed a pride of their own. First there was only one young lioness but she kind of ‘adopted’ the helpless youngsters of following litters. Without this ‘big sister’, the cubs woult surely have died. Very strange behaviour of the old lioness as lions usually stay together in family prides for years! I really hope this litter with the 3 cubs will be alright!

    The sun set as we were having sundowners.. Meet my two guardian angels: Ranger Elvis (with cap) and tracker Morgan..

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