Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Buffalo

On our drive last evening I saw the buffalo that I wanted to see. Unfortunately, however, it was just one buffalo - not the herd - and he was thin and sickly.  We all expected that his fate would find him at the wrong end of a predator's mouth that evening. Our prediction turned out to be correct . . .

This poor boy met his end yesterday early morning. Unfortunately, it was not a quick one for him and we all heard his moans and cries just after midnight. Our reliable tracker, Formen, upon our start yesterday morning stopped the Rover not far after we left the campsite, got out, walked about 20 yards away from the vehicle in the brush, stopped, and just listened. He cocked his ears forward after a minute or two and just stayed there still. After a few minutes, he walked back to the Rover and announced where we were going. Down there and to the left - I hear a crunching sound that sounds like an animal chewing and crunching on bones. Really?! You can hear that?!  After less than 10 minutes of driving probably a quarter of a mile away, winding in and around dense brush, we arrived. Well damn if he wasn't dead on. There was our sickly buffalo having just met his end to a pack of hyenas. They had just started tearing through the skin and into the flesh not more than about 30 minutes - if that - prior to our arrival. Steam ascended from the poor buffalo's belly from the heat he still gave off into the 45 degree air. There were 12-15 hyenas feeding on him and walking in the immediately surrounding area. The very pregnant female hyena was off to the side with a very dark and matted down face of fur, apparently having already had her fill and was now covered in blood so thick she looked as if she had a very short-haired black face, replacing her usual longer haired tan colored face that the others still had at this point, which were also quickly becoming matted-down, smooth, black faces.
It was sad to think of how this poor old sick boy met his death. It was made even more sad for us since we had seen him the day before seeming to struggle and not feeling well. Clearly the herd had finally left him as he could not keep up. Everyone in the Rover had foretold his fate that he would come to an end that evening. How was it that we saw him that very day, mere hours before his fateful ending, and we all could say with such certainty that his life would end that very night? How was it that he had survived so long? Could it have been just that day that his herd had finally left him and he had been protected up until then? Who knows...but unfortunate for him, we were right in our foretelling of his fate. I had wished it had been the lions however, instead of the hyenas. I think it would have gone quicker for him with lions...It was a story that played out before our eyes from one day to the next, even if only a short story for us...the same characters seen on the plains and in the bush going from one adventure to another and from one stage of life to another.

For more information on the lodge and offerings on my safari, check out Tanda Tula Private Game Lodge. For more of my pictures during my stay at Tanda Tula, check out My Safari Photos-Tanda Tula
Timbavati Tanda Tula Best Shots 2 

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