Beaten Back But Not Defeated

We did get some incredible footage in Deception Valley which fitted our story perfectly, the Kalahari lions are very good looking, one of which we'd christened 'Pretty Boy'.

Generally the Kalahari lions live in smaller groups than in other areas, and seem to fight less among themselves. Most of the lions we met are free of facial scars, and generally all looked in incredible condition.

Sunday morning, we packed up and drove to Maun - mostly a 5-hour slog along the dead straight sand road that runs alongside the veterinary fence*. Yesterday we moved on to Moremi Game Reserve, on the edge of the Okavango Delta. The lions here have a completely different prey base, with buffalo and zebra forming their main food supply. The groups of lions are generally larger, there are more roads and tourists which should make the lions easier to find. On the down side, the grass is longer and the landscape is generally more bushy which could be a problem.

* This is the fence that divides Botswana in two, and was put there at the insistence of the EEC, to ensure that there was no chance of foot and mouth disease or other livestock diseases infecting cattle to the North of the line - so meat products could be exported to the EEC. You should be able to see this fence clearly from space with Google Earth.

Economically, the fence has benefited Botswana, enabling it to export its excellent beef all over the world. It has in some ways helped protect natural areas from incursions by cattle. But the fence also has a big downside. It completely blocks migrations of many grazing animals, many thousands died shortly after the fence was built as their route to fresh grazing was blocked. The long term effects of the fence are still being assessed.


savannah said...

i am off to google earth! or just the botswana fence! xox

xl said...

Will you be returning to the attractive lions to get footage of their (hopefully!) improved hunting skills?

The Topiary Cow said...

Is this you, Lulu? If so, another impressive blog!


Madame DeFarge said...

Yup, got to go to Google earth to check this out. I love hearing about the other side of nature documentaries. This is fascinating.

Do these lions say 'anywhere but the face; when they fight do you think?

ammonite said...

Sav - we get hooked on GE - don't go there - whoops too late!!

XL - No that's the end of them, after this Okavango section the next shoot will be in Kenya.

TC - Lulu does the pictures (OK and she gets answers to comment questions), The posts are direct from Africa.

Madame Def - we are terrible at anthropomorphising the beasts and keep up a constant soap opera-style narration while filming.

So yes we do think that they lisp a bit and make deals about where to hit each other.