a dazzled pig - by brett du bois
Playful, muscular and stealthy; lazy at the best of times; there they lay, sprawled out before us. The pride looked as if they had put their heads down for the day with the "king" not far behind the females. He laid his behemoth head down with a deep sigh of recognition, knowing all was well in his kingdom!
As the sun began to warm our faces on this particularly cold morning, we decided we had spent an adequate amount of time with the pride, and so would soon be moving off. As we were departing, one of the females sat up and cocked her ears forward, paying full attention to something in the distance. Voster (my tracker) and I remembered passing a herd of zebra grazing upon the new sweet grass shoots on a nearby open area. We both concluded that the female had picked up on their scent.
Our conclusion was spot on because just then the lioness got up. Accompanied by two more females she began to move toward the zebra. The three lionesses soon got visual of the zebra which at this stage were stationary close to the junction of two bush tracks. The females began to spread out. In seconds we were only left with visual of one of them. She moved quietly behind the dazzle (group of zebra), keeping a good distance, and eventually ended up on the south-eastern side of the junction, where she stopped. We then saw the other two females, one to the north-east of the group and the other a little to the side. We stood by anxiously, the lions waited patiently.
The zebras began to head back in a north-westerly direction, and the lioness in the north-easterly position turned toward them, picking up the pace of her stalk. We then saw the cubs and remaining females on the horizon. At this point the lioness at the side gave chase as well as the one behind the group, herding the dazzle straight toward the approaching females and the cubs! The lioness at the back managed to get her paws onto one of the zebra. Unfortunately she was given a boot bigger than Francois Steyn (South African rugby player) could even deliver, and was sent somersaulting backwards. As a result the whole herd of zebra made their escape.
As the lioness came to her senses again, out of nowhere a warthog came flying through the scene! With a swift sidestep the dazed female caught the charging pig, but made no immediate attempt to kill it! She had the warthog belly-up and immobilised and was apparently waiting for the cubs to get to her so they could give the pig the killing blow. Unfortunately for them she couldn't wait long enough, because the animal was thrashing violently. So she killed the pig just before the cubs arrived.
An internal fight then ensued as the pride fought for scraps from the small catch. What a sighting!