A feast fit for a pride… or two

4 12 2011

Wednesday 30th November found all of the pride looking fat and content near waterpan 2. It was painfully obvious that since we had last visited them last they had eaten something, but search the area as we might we couldn’t find the source of the bulging waistlines.

Still, even the extra weight didn’t stop Leya making mischief with sister Loma.

On Friday (2nd), we weren’t really too sure what had happened…

The morning started off peacefully enough with the KLs eyeing up a waterbuck in Kariba but still a little weighted down from the last meal didn’t do anything about it. Rusha and Temi had headed off in the opposite direction and were resting happily in the shade of a tree in Tsavo. By mid-morning the KLs had drifted off to sleep but as we returned to Rusha and Temi, the pair had just got up and started to stalk off into the Acacia treeline. Quickly switching off the engine, the shapes of Temi stalking directly and Rusha taking a right flank were just visble.

But we couldn’t see what they were stalking and to begin with weren’t even sure that they in fact were. Once they disappeared out of sight and further into the treeline we could only guess at what was going on. Until… a sudden crash of branches indicated the chase was on and from the sounds of it, Temi had initiated it. We caught a brief glimpse high up in the tree line of Rusha racing across to assist and were able to follow the progress of what we still assumed was a hunt by the shaking trees. Then confirmation: the unmistakable sounds of an animal caught. We knew it was big from the sounds, which meant either zebra (unlikely, they’re rarely in the thickets), waterbuck (possible, but again unlikely as they usually are spotted elsewhere in the site) or eland.  As the pandemonium in the trees escalated we could only listen.  Without achieving even a glimpse of what  the %$@* was going on we had to admit defeat and leave the area and leave the pair to their meal.

Catching up with Kela, Kwandi, Leya and Loma we arrived just in time to see Kwandi initiate a hunt on some zebra close to water pan 1. As her group mates watched on, she began the stalk from 150m and considering how open the area was she made rapid progress. But was spotted at around 30m. Kwandi continued to pursue for a while, but the game was up. For now.

Weather kept us out of the site on Saturday; a huge storm the previous night making many of the roads un-drivable.

Today (4th) we caught up with the Kela/Kwandi gang the other side of water pan 1 sitting around the remains of a zebra kill. It seemed perhaps Kwandi hadn’t given up quite so easily!  Rusha and Temi were still up in Tsavo, and Rusha seemed in restless form.

Luckily for us Rusha’s mooching around eventually lead us to where the pair had dragged the kill from Friday. It was indeed an eland. These antelope are ginormous; and having had the thing to themselves for the past two days so were Rusha and Temi. The carcass was best part of 70% utilised and now the remaining meat is starting to green. Neither looked capable of shoving another mouthful in… but were equally unwilling to give up the spoils to the collecting vultures.

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