The case of the curious giraffe

16 08 2012

You would think when predator and prey meet, the prey would run screaming bloody murder deep into the hills, with the predator hot on their heels.  Well, that is sometimes the case, but there are times when an awkward truce is called.

Out on safari, I came across a large male lion, working his way through most of the buffalo he had caught the night before.  He was stuffed, but in true lion fashion, he kept at it, aiming for the personal low point we have all hit around the holidays, where you literally can’t move because you have eaten so much.  While this was going on, a journey (the actual collective noun) of giraffe came wandering by.  Obviously, and I think it is a justified reaction, when they saw the lion, they changed to full alert, panicked a little, and prepared to make a run for it, but then they noticed his condition, and slowed their heart beats back to something countable again.

The lion looked up at them for a second or two, then lowered his massive head back into the buffalo, and continued gnawing away the carcass.  A lion in this state is not a great threat to any juicy piece of antelope, which means it is one of the few opportunities an antelope gets to inspect this great predator.  Most antelope do it, but giraffes are famous for it.  When they see predator who poses no imminent threat, their curiosity gets the better of them, and they often approach the predator to get a better look.  On this safari, the giraffes came to within 15 meters of the lion while he fed.  Those would be silly distances if he was not in said state, and would likely shrink the giraffe herd by one.

They watched him for the better part of an hour, until he lost the battle against the huge buffalo, and moved off a little distance to digest.  You don’t make it as a giraffe by being stupid, and when he did move, they backed off a short way, just to make sure they had a good head start should the situation change.

It was a great scene to witness, and even better, provided the opportunity to make a few images!





6 responses

16 08 2012
Brenda Bertels

Hi Kurt,
Could you perhaps tell me where this encounter took place. Just for interest sake


16 08 2012

Hi, it was taken at MalaMala.
Thanks for looking!

1 09 2012
Andy Williams

Great story and photos, thanks for sharing them! I was just at Singita Sabi Sand 🙂

10 09 2012

Glad you liked them Andy – thanks for looking! Hope you enjoyed your safari!

10 01 2013

Beautiful, The photos make me itch to pick up a brush and recapture the light on cavas. I can feel the life in each and every one. Thank you,,,

10 01 2013

Thanks Jacquie! If you do pick up the brush again, let me know where I can see your work!

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