What an unbelievable couple of drives!
Yesterday afternoon brought us Xivindzi looking exhausted from chasing squirrels and the humidity, she was breathing heavy as she rested a while on Zoe’s road by the hyena den. I am more convinced Karula had picked them up on the way through and left them around this area instead! It was great to see little Xivindzi, but the highlight was certainly Karula!
As we joined her she was in full stalking mode, she rounded the termite mound she had used for cover and I was so shocked the steenbok in her sights had not seen the Karula, who was barely 30m from him! He must have been lookig in the opposite direction as she re-positioned herself. We did the same and it was only after we had sat there for a while, did we notice Karula lying flat against the ground with only the minimal amount of vegetation for cover.
Very impressive! She must have been only 20m from her prey at this stage. The tension was mounting, a pair of Francolins strolled by a meter or so from Karula’s nose, at which point we thought it was game over,but she remained as motionless, not even a whisker moved and they continued without so much as a look in her direction! The steenbok flinched as the grey go-away bird tried to warn of the impeding danger, but with nothing detected, he returned to his supper.
Just as the francolins started their evening chours, in the blink of an eye, she struck, but the steenbok was lighting fast and fed before she had closed half the distance! Irritated she went to rest on a nearby log only to discover the steenbok had not gone far. The hunt was on again.
Crossing over Philamon’s cutline, she used the thicker cover to hide behind, again closing the gap she waited, but something alerted the dwarf antelope and before she could even think of poncing he was gone.
Reluctantly she relaxed and took the time to compose herself again, mean while a 200 strong herd of buffalo were filtering out of the bush heading in her direction.
Once again she flattened her body against the ground, this time she was in danger if she was detected. The herd unwittingly closed in around her, seeming not to notice until one cow may have caught her scent and looked back straight at Karula. Unsure of what she was going to do, Karula waited, but the cow was not impressed and started towards, at which point Karula turn tail and trotted away. this clearly wasn’t fast enough as the cow gave chase, making sure Karula got the message loud and clear.
Instead of trying to out run the herd, the queen of Djuma gracefully reclined in a tree to view the mass below her, occasionally being watched from below by the curious few!
It is amazing how quickly circumstances change and tables can be turned in the bush, one minute a predator is hunting to survive, the next it is fleeing to survive! Eventually her nemesis moved on and she could return to her role as huntress.
This morning brought a whole new mystery, with Induna being found on sitting on Chela Pan road with a duiker kill in the tree close by. The question being did Induna kill the duiker or did Karula and she went to fetch the cubs?
He sat for a while, then climbed the tree to where the antelope was wedged. He proceeded to move the carcass to a wider fork in the tree and tried to feed, but eventually he decided that didn’t work so brought the antelope down onto the ground where he could eat probably in more comfort! Sadly she was pregnant and this could be why she was caught. The extra weight she carries may slow her down making her an easier target for a predator. As he ate he was looking over his shoulder as if expecting someone to show up, maybe the hyena or Karula, or someone else, who knows?
Induna with the duiker
This afternoon we returned to find Induna had replaced the kill up a tree and just as we were leaving, Karula was walking cautiously down Chela pan road towards where the kill and Induna were. Induna immediately climbed the tree to claim his prize, making sure his mum wouldn’t try and claim it herself, so sadly she had to go without. The mystery still remains who did make the kill? If it was Karula’s, where were the cubs and why did it take her so long to return? But in the same stroke could it really be coincidence she was in the same area and she did seem to know the kill was there!
Written by Tara