Monday, July 7, 2014

Elephant Plains Day 3: Leopards and the Last of My Big Five

The early morning drive was a fairly complete bust. Lots of driving. No seeing. It was cold and overcast. But then we came upon a clan of hyenas. That led us to a female leopard (Salayexe) wobbling in a tree with a freshly killed impala. It was too much cat and not enough tree, but she wasn't going to let those pesky hyenas feast on her meal.

Then we got a call to return to the Big Dam, where we came upon two well-fed males who seemed to be occupying the same space. Each one seemed agitated, but neither was in the mood for a fight.

Before we embarked on the afternoon drive, our ODP leader, Brendon, asked the assembly of photogs if all was well with our cameras and gear. For the first time all safari long, I raised my voice with a concern. "I have a problem with my camera. It doesn't seem to have a photo of a rhinoceros. I checked it out quite thoroughly. Is there a way you can fix that?"

Not long into the afternoon drive—as if on cue—a rhino crossed our path. I watched it for a while, thinking "How did you escape extinction when your fellow dinosaurs died out?" It really seemed to be in the wrong geologic epoch. But I got my rhino; my Big Five was now complete!

We ended the day with some more spotlit lions before returning to Salayexe just as she finally descended from that wobbly tree.

ODP Blog - Elephant Plains: Dominant Male Leopards Confrontation

Elephant Plains Day 3

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