Friday, December 1, 2017

Predators and prey...images from game drives at River Lodge@Thornybush Game Reserve, Mpumalanga

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Time to head out on a series of game drives.
Thornybush uses trackers as well as guides on their vehicles,
as this increases the chances of  sightings.

First and foremost, visitors come to Africa to see the "Big 5".
Originally so named as they were the most dangerous species to hunt on foot.
They comprise the following:
Leopards...

The Buffalo, probably the most dangerous of the 5 
as it  gives no indication that it is about to attack.
Although it is a prey species, they have been know to fight off
and often injure lions when attacked. 
Unlike domestic cattle, they are extremely dangerous and should be approached with caution.

Lions...

The largest of the African land mammals,
this particular elephant came "dancing" down the bank at a rapid pace.

And last, but by no means least, the Rhino...
There are two species in Southern Africa,
The Black and the White.
This is the latter, bigger and less aggressive that its smaller cousin.

Lambing season, especially for the Impala,
takes place from November, depending on the weather.
The young are abundant and can become prey very easily

Although many visitors will not admit to it, 
they come to the bush to witness a kill.
This leopard had taken a Duiker up a tree to keep the carcass safe from other predators

This lion was snacking on the remains of a warthog that he had been guarding all day

And then there are those wistful images...
Being in the right place, at the right time
with an eye to "getting-the-shot"
This leopard was keeping an eye on her meal which was hanging above her in a tree.

Kicking up the dust...
Elephants make for great subjects, as almost every part is photogenic

The shot that most photographers look for is a Hippo yawning.
If it won't open its mouth, then a wiggly ear will have to suffice

"Don't call me a stick-in-the-mud".
Not to worry, this young elephant was able to extricate itself...

The Cheetah might be the fastest mammal on the African plains,
but it is also one to the two species ( the other being Wild Dog) 
that can turn the "Big 5" into the "Magnificent 7"...

Very curious, but at the same times wary of our game drive vehicle.

You cannot help but fall in love with the African bush.
This Impala ram could have chosen a drinking spot anywhere along this dam,
but he decided that behind this Heron was a good idea.

And then there is the cuteness factor.
This young lion cub was part of a pride that consisted of 11 cubs and three females.
Even at this young age they have very sharp teeth and claws

Time to discover the world for myself...
But, if anything scares me I have backup.

Playtime with siblings.
This is how the cubs test their capabilities within the pack.
There will always be whose who are the more dominant as well as those who are weaker
and as a result the latter might not make it to adulthood.

Good night from the African bush-veld.
I do hope that many of the prey species that I saw on my game drives make it through the night.
But there will always be predators in search of prey.
However,they hunt without hatred or animosity...merely for a meal.


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