Happy Halloween!

By Jessie Cart, Volunteer Intern 4 years ago
Categories Limpopo

Happy Halloween indeed!

Being American, I have grown up loving the holiday of Halloween, the costumes, the candy; it’s all very exciting. Today, it was the most exciting Halloween anyone could ask for.

It started off like a typical morning drive, a bit cold from the rain the night before, the sun shining in the sky, but not yet warming the skin. We were tracking the female lions down a road when one of our fellow volunteers, Kutullo, aptly nicknamed “Binos”, saw an animal presumed to be a lion, about 80 metres into the block in the thick of the bush. Well, this animal was as large as one of our females, shaped a bit like our hefty ladies, but it had rosettes. We were so excited to realise it was a leopard! After some further examination, due to his size and stature, we figured it was none other than our beloved, Scar.

Scar is our oldest known male leopard on the reserve. He is very sly and cunning, so seeing him is always exciting. As Scar sat there, picking at his C-class, male impala kill, Emma in the front of the bakkie saw something moving towards Scar, very quietly, very slowly. As it turns out, one of the female lions decided to show up to the party.

When she was really close to Scar and his kill, she took off in a sprint, becoming very vocal, and chased him off the kill. She then proceeded to chase him into a tree, out of our range of vision. The lioness returned to her sister at the kill and they began to eat. However, this is not the end of the story. Scar, being the sly, cunning leopard that he is, jumped down from the tree thinking he could make a quick escape. The lioness quickly ran after Scar and chased him into a large Marula tree, farther from the kill.

We reversed quickly and drove a little bit up the road, to a bend in the road where the Marula tree stood, with Scar gracefully, yet angrily, perched on one of it’s large branches. We sat there, taking photographs, still a bit in shock at what we just witnessed, when Scar elegantly leapt down from the tree and took off, causing us to lose visual behind a termite mound. We travell\ed back around the bend to get a better visual of the females, and left the girls gorging themselves on the stolen kill with Scar no longer to be seen.

Needless to say, we spent the rest of the drive in shock and excitement of what had happened. Hearing Rosie call in what we just witnessed on the radio was like re-living the experience and nearly as exciting as watching it unfold in the first place. It was by far the most incredible sighting I have had since arriving on Karongwe in September, and I am hoping for many more.