24.6.09

Outwitted!



Last night started with some real hope. We located the big male and his two young females again, and they looked pretty hungry. Despite having wasted our time over the last few nights ineptly chasing potential prey, they were now in a great area for filming and hunting.

As night fell, they moved into a perfect position. Then the male stuck his big head up, roared and alerted all the animals to their presence, then the girls started chasing anything that moved. Round and round, backwards and forwards. The oryx were not surprisingly being extra vigilant and pretty much all moved off to somewhere quieter.

This strategy was only going to work if there was at least another lioness present, a strategy that needed a couple of chasers who push the prey towards a couple of catchers. It doesn’t work with just two chasers. But this young inexperienced duo weren’t getting it, and the male who clearly had big expectations wasn’t helping either, just wandering around sticking his big head up at the worst possible times. Eventually they all gave up and settled down for a long sleep.

We were running low on energy and batteries, and decided to return to camp.

Yesterday morning, we discovered to our shock that the trio, who had used up three of our filming nights chasing prey as if they were cubs, had actually brought something down, an oryx, about 3km away from where we left them.

The other lioness and cubs we had been looking for, had also killed an oryx on the road about 15 km to the south. That’s pretty much all of our useful lions used up for at least three days while they digest the 20 or so kilos of meat they’ve each put away.

2 comments:

xl said...

Is the how-not-to-hunt footage useful? Maybe you can film them being successful later!

ammonite said...

In an ideal world we get a bit of how-not-to and then some lovely footage of how-to do it.

It gets a bit tense when the days go by and that end point is not yet in the can.