Friday, July 6, 2012

PANTHERA LEO......the Lion



The largest of the African carnivores, lion are distinctly social animals, living and hunting in prides. Each pride occupies a home range marked by scent, patrolled and ruthlessly defended against intrusion. Males attempting to take over a pride may fight to the death and the outcome will affect crucial issues such as the survival of the cubs. Predominately nocturnal, lion are deceptively lazy, resting in the shade during the day but quickly becoming aggressive if unduly disturbed.


Our first evening game drive on arrival at Little Makalolo Camp in Zimbabwe brought a sighting of lions. It's unbelievably exciting to round a bend and come across something like this. The heart pounds, and you say to yourself "yes, this is really Africa, this is what I've come to experience, these beautiful animals in the wild where they are supposed to be".

These pics show just how close we were able to view - front of our Land Rover above, and Bob's dead ahead, non-eye contact expression below! Being his first safari (and after 50+ years in the claims business), he was a little perturbed at the proximity of these huge cats. Of course he is correct when saying "they are wild animals, we're on their turf, and they're unpredictable". This of course intensifies one's adherence to the rules of the safari experience, and definitely determines the need for a very experienced ranger up front with the rifle, just in case.  Fortunately we were safe for the entire three weeks, but we also were cautious when necessary.
  
 Just a yawn to display those very large, sharp teeth! I believe this is a young male starting to attain his mane. 
 Magnificent cats viewed in the silence of the late afternoon as sunset descended. 
 Lions are definitely social within their pride, often huddling close and rolling about in gentle play. We stayed to view for some time, talking quietly and taking photos of these magnificent cats.
We saw many lions during the trip.............always amazing. I'll share more pics and stories later.


Edited:  For those who wonder why these animals come so close to humans yet don't attack them, see the comment below left by Paula (True Brit) - she explains it well.  Thanks Paula.

17 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, those enormous teeth!!!

    What beautiful animals they are.....

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  2. It surprises me that they weren't bothered by you being there. That is sure close for wild but then that is what it is all about.....think I might do better with the pictures than the experience:)

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  3. Fabulous Mary!! I enjoyed this very much. Love these beautiful beasts!!!
    Pamela xo

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  4. What beautiful animals. How thrilling and scary to be so close to them. I am enjoying these posts Mary.
    Hugs,
    Penny

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  5. Oh, Mary...you are so brave! Beautiful creatures but I don't know that I would want to be this close to them. I need to be more adventurous!

    XO,
    Jane

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  6. Oh, I totally get what you mean about the intensity of the experience, the 'yes, this is Africa!'.

    Seeing a big cat is such a thrill and these lions are beautiful. Your camera is extraordinary, and well done for learning to use it so well.

    Do you have any of your holiday photos around your home? How could you chose?

    Sft x

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  7. The are such wonderful animals. Love seeing your pictures. Bonnie

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  8. Perhaps we could point out that all animals including leopard and rhino, elephant and cheetah, come right up to the vehicle and sometimes even rub against it as they do not perceive humans to be anything other than part of the vehicle when we are seated. Were we to stand up we could possibly become prey, were we to make eye contact for longer than 2-3 seconds that could pose a problem too but the biggest issue is that they don't consider us as anything different than a tree or a bush,

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Paula - regarding safety, you made it clear to those who have never been on a safari.........and I hope so much everyone can get to experience the awesome feeling of being so close to these beautiful creatures some day-------Mary

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  9. Fabulous photos, Mary! They are beautiful animals, but I tend to agree with Bob's thinking :).

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  10. I loved your photos two years ago, but if possible, these are even better. Thank you, dear lady, for sharing them with us. While it has been my lifelong dream to go to Africa, the years are flying by and no one in my family shares the dream. So for now, I am living it vicariously! :-)

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  11. Big sigh, Mary. These cats are magnificent. Thanks for the lesson in safari safety. I wondered how one could get so close to these wild animals without them running off or worse, attacking.
    Thanks for sharing the images and the enlightening information. ~ Sarah

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  12. Mary your photos are fabulous, looks like you had any incredible time. Its so hard to beleive that these are pussycats isn't it:)

    I have been looking foward to reading your trip posts, glad you had a great time.

    I have just opened a new fabulous giveaway over at our blog and hope you and your lovely followers can join us to enter.

    Welcome home.

    Paul

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  13. I'm off to a slow start this morning - Just saw your post with your lovely gardening tip.

    A friend of mine uses her collection of Asian parasols to shade her plants in summer which looks so exotic.

    Paul

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  14. Truly amazing! What gorgeous cats!

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