“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”
|A herd of impalas at the side of a dirt road we traveled in Kruger.|
We often hear others say, “This is life in the wild.” Hearing this doesn’t lessen the emotions we feel when we see an animal suffering. It’s sad to see a human or an animal in pain, ill, or emotionally distraught for any reason. But, the realities of life doesn’t diminish the emotions we feel when we observe such a scenario when often there is nothing we can do to help.
|It was sad to see the lioness suffering.|
We were seated at the big table on the veranda and noticed him ramming his head into the chicken wire trying to escape. Helping an animal, however small, in a panicked situation such as this could be dangerous.
But, we weren’t going to let him die before our eyes. We’d seen a photo where a bushbuck died trying to extricate its head from being stuck in a fence in Marloth Park. If residents feel they need fences they definitely should be a type that prevents wildlife from potential injury or even death.
|One can only guess why this particular lioness hadn’t been hunting and eating.|
We often wonder why there are hazardous fences in the park. Don’t people come here to be “one” with nature, not hiding behind fences? None of the Big Five permanently reside in Marloth Park and rarely does a lion, leopard or cheetah finds its way into the park. Surely, a fence of any type wouldn’t necessarily protect a human from such a dangerous encounter.
Tom grabbed the long, extendable pole he uses to chase off baboons and monkeys and attempted to raise the bottom of the fence to allow the duiker an exit. The poor little creature bellowed in total fear while Tom tried to help.
There is a gate to this area and we immediately opened it hoping the duiker would see the open exit. While Tom tried to help him, I stood at a distance from the exit hoping to see him escape.
|We assumed she was ill or injured.|
Finally, after several minutes of him running into the impenetrable wire fence in different locations of the enclosure, he spotted the open gate and escaped. We both sighed in relief.
He’s a duiker we’ve often fed and wondered what he was after in that area. Perhaps it was a type of vegetation he particularly liked. Once he ran off, leaping through the air, we wondered if we’d ever see him again.
Alas, a few hours later he returned and we tossed him some pellets, small bits of carrots and apples. (We always cut the veggies into small bite-sized pieces for the duikers and bushbucks. Kudus and warthogs can handle big chunks but not the small antelope or babies of most species).
|Every step she took appeared to be an effort.|
We were relieved to see he was uninjured and back to his shy little self, often appearing with a female he seems attached to. But, the lion we spotted in Kruger didn’t have the potential of a good outcome, after we’d seen her looking so unwell.
Sure, we can say, “This is life in the wild,” but that harsh reality doesn’t insulate us from feeling sad for a suffering animal in the wild. Nor, in essence, do we ever want to feel less compassionate. It’s that compassion and love for wildlife that brought us to Africa in the first place. We don’t want to become “tougher” and more accepting of the often gruesome realities.
In today’s world, horrifying videos portray atrocities lodged upon wildlife, many too horrific to mention. Is it possible seeing these over and over again can cause us to become immune to horrific scenes that diminish our ability to feel compassion?
|She appeared to have made her way under the bridge where we’d no longer able to see her.|
Seeing the lion in such sorrowful condition left us feeling in tune and in touch with nature, that even after many such sightings in this past year of living in the bush, we still care, we still feel and we still treasure the beauty of life in the wild. We remain untarnished by the harsh realities.
In 16 days we’ll leave Marloth Park. We’re grateful for this life-enhancing year in the bush while looking forward to that which lies ahead of us.
Photo from one year ago today, January 29, 2018:
|At lunch, that day in Antarctica, one of the chefs prepared a beef and vegetable stir-fry outdoors. We all partook of the delicious offering but decided to dine indoors. It was a little too cold to eat outside for our liking. For more photos, please click here.|