A Lesson Learnt

It was an uncharacteristically cold and rainy day in the Lowveld, and even though the weather resembled that of England rather than Africa, we went on a drive to look for some game, even bringing our cameras. The drive started slowly  (animals  generally are not keen on the cold, wet weather either), but eventually we came across two young lions at the edge of a dam.

The two young lions exploring the edge of the dam.

Many would think that a cold overcast day would be bad for photography, it’s actually quite the opposite, it makes metering and exposure much easier. So we started snapping away. Whilst watching the youngsters we noticed something approaching on the opposite side of the dam. “Yes!” we all shared the same excitement. A cheetah, this was amazing, we had two big cats right in front of us.

The cheetah coming down for a drink.

The lion takes a vantage point to see the cheetah more clearly.

At the edge of the bush the cheetah notices the lions.

Now we were  assuming that the cheetah would flee the scene in a cloud fullof dust, for fear of the adult lions being around but to prove us wrong he did the opposite and continued his course in a bold fashion. This sparks a reaction from the lions and we soon see a confrontation fast approaching  “Get your cameras ready folks, this is going to be good!”

The lion decides this is a challenge and comes down.

Things where fast becoming interesting as we watched the event unfold unsure of what was going to happen. This is where our passion for wildlife really peaks; seeing animals in unusual circumstances and watching it all play out in front of your very eyes. We watched in anticipation…

The cheetah reaches the waters edge but crouches down as the smaller of the lions begins circling.

The lion and cheetah soon get within a few meters of each other and the Cheetah shows signs of submission, crouching he senses the danger of her younger, but much stronger stranger. The larger of the two lions makes the first move. She rushes in with a sudden burst of energy, showing her superior strength and gives the Cheetah (and us) quite a fright. From the ground the cheetah looks to be in trouble, but with a swift movement he swipes at the young female lion taking her by surprise and highlighting her inexperience in such conflicts. Within a few clicks of the camera we spot the second, smaller lion who rushes onto the scene to help his sister. Now the cheetah is outnumbered and overpowered, seems like the only option here is to forget the fight and consider flight.

Suddenly the larger lion rushes in!

But the cheetah holds its ground and swipes at the inexperienced lion.

Sensing an opportunity, the second lion joins in and they gang up on the cheetah.

I am outta here! The cheetah makes a break for it!

Defiantly the cheetah does not dash off but hisses and snarls at the cubs as they run parallel to him.

After he made his point the thirsty cheetah takes off into the bush with lions close behind.

What an experience!


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Posted by Pat Dewil

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