Two little bits of fun

9 10 2012

A young baboon’s first step out into the big bad world can be daunting, but with a sibling on hand to try it out with, it can only be fun.  I was out on an afternoon safari, and found a troop of baboons, finishing up their day.  Between all the flea picking and playful teenagers, were two fresh-out-the-oven babies, exploring their playground for the first time.

Once they had broken free from their mother’s protective grip, they headed straight for an old, dead log and began climbing it.  I use the term climbing loosely, as they battled their way to the middle.  The climbing quickly evolved to trying to push the other one off the branch, which lead to shrieks of fear and delight – all very entertaining for the photographers that were present!  At one point, the braver of the two tried his hand at a live tree, and made it all of thirty centimetres off the floor – his more timid companion stood in awe!  I spent a magic forty-five minutes clicking away at the babies, as they tried to figure it all out.

From time to time, the mothers would pop their heads into the little explorers club, just to make sure everything was still OK, only to be met with blatant rejection, as the now cool young guns continued up to the middle of the big old branch.

The time did come though when they were all played out (meaning they were hungry), and went scuttling back to their mothers for milk.  Firmly attached to their mother’s belly, they were escorted back to the troops roost for the night.

 

To join me on safari, click here!





Almost…

12 06 2012

Lions are without question the largest and most feared of the African predators. Majestic in their day to day, they carry around a certain nobility, a respect if you will, until they climb a tree… Lions are not gifted climbers. Trees are the domain of the leopard, and when lions decide they should give it a try, it is usually quite a comical affair.

I came across a pride of lions trying to deal with the heat of the day. The (much wiser) adult females took their cover in some lush grass at the base of the tree, but the youngsters just had to give tree climbing a try. They went up one at a time, the others watching the below-par efforts of their siblings. They started with a tree that had been partially pushed over by an elephant, and had a good angle to it. That was manageable, but did pose a few difficulties for the younger lions. That tree got boring quickly, and the bravest of the bunch, a young male, went for a vertical tree. As is always the case with lions, going up is fine, it’s coming down that is the problem! He made it almost effortlessly to the first fork, and then…

He stayed there for a while, sussing out his options, before deciding it was time to come down. Easier said than done. He was stuck.
Accepting the situation, he slept. Going for the classic leopard ‘drape’, he lounged out over the lower branches, getting it all wrong! He just looked desperately uncomfortable. It did make for some interesting photographs though. It isn’t everyday you see a lion in a tree!
I waited around to see how he would negotiate the path back to solid ground, but with no luck. He was still very much in the tree when I left, with what looked like no easy way down.