|Posted on June 4, 2007 at 11:43 AM|
Wildlife programs pack 6 months worth of full day driving into half an hour show, so no wonder tourists are disillusioned when they don’t have a predator filled game drive. Another thing to remember when watching those wildlife shows that involves predators making a kill. Most guests usually say they would like to see one. The thing is that those programs edit out most of the gory bits. The lions are chasing the impala, and in the next clip the pride is suddenly all gathered and eating their prize. Mind you, there are some shows that do show the actual kill, but a shorter version – and people usually change the channel or look away if it gets too much for them. This is what I try and explain to my guests when they ‘request’ to see a kill. Strangely enough, sometimes guests are lucky enough to see the things they request. The woman directly behind me, Mrs. P., kept asking when we were going to see a kill, even though we had seen quite a bit that morning. I had part of a large group on my vehicle - which is always hard, because they have competition amongst the vehicles on who has seen the best sightings. There was a bit of a road block of private vehicle up ahead of me viewing something, even though all I could see was zebra’s. I slowed down to a stop and tried to have a look, but became completely boxed in by the other cars. I told my guests that we would have to just be patient for a while until a space opens up. Suddenly out of nowhere, two lionesses came out of the bushes and ran for the zebra herd. The lions ran straight towards us and managed to attack one about 2m away from us. I laughed and told my guests that I had organized it especially for them. It was incredible. It is not a pretty thing to see, but it was fascinating. The zebra was crying out while the lions tried to get a better holds of it. One hung onto its throat, while the other put all her weight on its rear and seemed to be too impatient and started biting at it, eating. Ironically, Mrs. P. behind me was the first one to begin weeping. I tried to explain that sometimes kills can sometimes take up to eight minutes or more before the animal dies. The zebra refused to fall even after many minutes of the lion relentless attack, and poor Mrs. P. begged me to leave the sighting. I aplogised, saying we couldn’t as it was unethical to start the vehicle so close to the kill, and we wouldn’t have been able to leave if we wanted to. Finally the zebra fell, and the lionesses dragged it a bit further away from the road. Poor Mrs. P. was shaking, and we could leave. When we got back, Mrs. P. was the first to brag to the rest of the other guests in her group about what we had seen. I had seen a family of warthogs getting taken down on my first day in the park a few months ago, but this was my first up-close kill, and even though Mrs. P was horrified; I didn’t find it not too bad. I had imagined it being so much more gruesome, so I think that is why I managed.