Animal Action


On day 30 of our adventure, just down the trail from a huge fig tree,

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we came upon two leopards.

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They were between a dirt road (visible above on our right) and the Sand River (visible below on our left).

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We were enjoying our early morning,

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and our close view of these animals.  We started noticing the stark contrast in how beat up the male was, (notice the loose top fang, the scars under the right eye, on the nose, face and ears),

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compared to the beautiful young female.

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The guides informed us that they believed the female killed the Impala and the male took it over and pulled into the tree, otherwise a young female like this would never get close to a larger male with his own kill.

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The “lady” leopard was being very patient, and on occasion, as a result of the sound of the male cutting through a bone, a tasty morsel would drop out of the tree.

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Then out of the quiet morning some baboons screamed just to our left along the river bank.  The young female leopard came to attention,

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and then went to investigate near the bluff overlooking the river.

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Once on the edge of the river she spotted and heard the activity.  She circled back around to our right and behind us, walked to the road and took it downriver.  We followed.

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From the look she gave us she did not really care for us to be there, however, her real attention was near the river.

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The hunter was investigating.

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Once the young female saw what she was looking for she quickly headed back under the tree where the male was, and laid down.  The large male had come down the tree and was concerned as well.  Notice how both leopards laid down their ears.

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Since the leopards retracted, our guide eased the jeep to the river’s edge.  Here is what the baboons had screamed about and what the leopards saw / smelled / heard.

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A pack of wild dogs killed an antelope in the river.

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Then all of a sudden the wild dogs scattered … in every direction.

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Some of which came right by our jeep.

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Then we heard a “heckle” immediately beside the jeep and saw this guy.

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Then we heard the water splashing again, just to our right.

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Meanwhile, the leopards were safe as the hyenas and wild dogs failed to locate the leopard kill in the tree.

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In the picture above the male leopard is giving a low belly growl to the young female leopard on the right.   We let them be from then on.

ELEPHANT ACTION:

On day 9 of our adventure, in Botswana near the the Namibia border, we came across our first wild elephant.    We were on the hunt for wild dogs when this young bull meandered from about 250 yards away to make a false charge.   The guide on the front of our jeep never changed his position or flinched.   The entire event was like a well played hand of poker.   From the curious, somewhat frustrated bull, to the cool tracker.

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The bull below laid his ears out and got into a defensive position when our helicopter in South Africa, near Kruger national park, flew over him.   He was particularly annoyed.

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Below is a dusting of the ears for flies and insects caught by the camera.

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The mother and daughter below “scampered” in front of us in the Sabi Sand area of South Africa.

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HIPPOPOTUMUS ACTION:

Our first real encounter with wildlife that could lay damage to us was on day 9 of our adventure, in Botswana.   This occurred as we drove upon the first pan setting in safari below.

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These creatures were active and aggressive, almost every time we came across them.   Especially with young ones around.

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Helicopter view:

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Click on the photo below to get a good view of the flies.

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Obvious why the Oxpecker loves these nasty ol’ critters.

 

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A lion got a hold of this antelope but failed to bring him down.

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We made a conscious effort to experience as much African diversity as possible, especially on safari.  There are extremely high-end lodges in Africa … almost obscene.   As well, there are more traditional African “bush” camps.   We found the Okavango Delta, being so vast and subject to the rain patterns,  relatively remote.

The presence of technology is heavily influencing native culture and behavior.   That being said, it was obvious that guides and staffmembers were still highly deferential to game interaction and most tried to convince guests to embrace nature and leave whatever home you came from – behind.   We were very fortunate to experience some really wild areas.  We could definitely tell wild animals from not so wild … mostly depending on the area visited.

One observation is that the continued transition of African culture could make the true safari experience suspect as time moves on.   Technological advances will only continue the meddling with eons of nature.  That could continue to impact ecosystems turning the safari portion of Africa into a large petting zoo in the not too distant future.