Holiday Lions - Remember When?
Not all of us share the same type of holidays this time of year, but one thing we do have in common is our love of wildlife and the surprises it holds. If you’ve been around Africam for a few years, you’ll remember this vividly, but for those of us who missed it...here’s what happened...
In the early hours of Christmas Day, 2006...
A herd of Cape Buffalo had just gone through at NK, sucking up half the water hole and stomping it into a mess as they left. Things had gotten quiet, until someone heard a hint of what was to come. An Africam member posted in the forum “Anyone hear that noise? Sounded like baboons, but now I hear water slurping, but see nothing...” Less than thirty minutes later, another post: “Oh my, what is that? Sounds like a herd of something and something dying! Oh my!” The comments continued: “That can’t be a lion?? Hyena? Something fighting.” “Lions...very close fighting or just yelling at each other”
Less than a half an hour later, the horrendous sounds that were attributed to lions, baboons, or hyenas, stopped...and the wondering began - what could it have been? A few minutes later, a lion was seen, with sounds of an animal in distress coming from out of the cameras view. Cam watchers were thrilled as they saw even more glimpses of lions coming near the waterhole, and anxiously waited for the cam operators to wake up so they could see just what was lurking out there. Someone posted that they heard crunching, and a newcomer posted about the thrill of seeing their first lion. The guesses and questions, along with lion roars and unidentified noises that kept all the cam watchers on the edge of their seats. Hours passed with the lions still in view, wandering in and out of the bush getting a drink and rolling on their backs with fat bellies full of food. The sun was up and the camera operator was busily trying to follow all the big cats as they wandered. All of a sudden the kill was out in the open...a cape buffalo. The forum members were trying to figure out why they hadn’t seen it before, when Penny made a phone call and shared this with the watchers:
“I have just spoken to the owner of the Lodge - his name is Dirk - the lions did indeed bring down the buffalo this morning and started feeding on the carcass behind the anthill which is behind the camera. Another pride of lions then came by and the noise you all heard was the pride with the kill defending it and fighting off the intruders. They then dragged the kill about 4 meters closer to the waterhole which has afforded us all these brilliant pictures. There are six lions in this pride. Hope this answers some of your questions!”
It turns out it was the Styx pride, and here is one of the videos that allows us to share a few minutes of that spectacular sighting. It includes some pretty intense chomping and chewing by the pride, but also has some wonderful shots of the lions with full tummies; cleaning their faces and being just plain miserably full in the hot African heat on that Christmas Day. No matter what holiday you may be celebrating around the world, this was definitely a Christmas that won’t be forgotten.