Eva next African outing sees the combination of greed and gain are destroying the virginity of the great continent. This safari was for the purpose of seeing Africa’s adherence to the law of nature, only the strongest survive but the adventure was marred by seeing the greed of man compounding the natural order of destruction.
Eva writes of how she was saddened by her latest safari….
Dawn and safari departure
…and our African delight continued as we boarded our jeep once again for a very early morning safari. This outing was referred to by the rangers as the “dawn safari” because it gave us the most advantage in locating and observing the after-math of a night kill. As we drove through a delicate film of haze and heard eerie sounds all around us, the intense beauty of the jungle presented itself with great drama, a view opposed to the serene jungle of a fresh night kill. The dead kudu (antelope) was surrounded by three lions: 2 females and one male.
The organization of the kill
The after-math of the kill is highly organized. The lion feasts first while the two lionesses sit on the side-lines keeping a keen vigil for any intruders. The lion gorges himself until his stomach is visibly extended, he can only amble instead of walk, and so he lies down nearby for a long rest to digest all that food. He removes himself totally from the picture and allows the next group, the two lionesses, to come and continue the feast. They are more mindful of how much they eat because they have to drag back enough meat to the third lioness that was left behind in a secure, hidden den to guard their young cubs. There are usually 2-3 cubs to a den. Once back in the den, the two well-fed lionesses regurgitate a part of their food and offer it to the cubs. Once they are totally satisfied with their full bellies, sleeping becomes the norm of the day.
At all times, there is only one pride to a kill. A pride consists of one male, 2 female and 2-3 young lion cubs. Lions sleep 18 hours out of every 24. Their main activity is hunting for food, and always at night!
Subsequent carcass scavengers
Once the pride leaves the kill area, the patiently waiting hyenas move in. These animals could be heard breaking and crunching bones, and tearing strips off the killed animal. Hyenas also fill themselves to the brim. After the hyenas are done, the third layer of feeders, the vultures swoop from near-by trees to completely pick the remaining bones clean. Once they are done with the carcass, they fly away and only a bloodied patch of grass is left as testimony that a kill and feeding has taken place.
We were left in awe of the eventful drama and truly humbled by the force of nature, and a testament to the survival of the fittest. We sat in the jeep quietly for an hour until the entire kill, from beginning to end played out about 5 feet in front of us. We were absolutely mesmerized by the unfolding events with a genuine respect for the animals and nature.
Poachers profit from pristine paradise
On this safari outing, we continued to proceed to an area of large rhinos. Rhinos too, move in small groups of three and this is called a “crash of rhinos”. We saw several groups congregating by the watering hole, but a number of rhinos were without their horns, and some of their faces still bore a bloodied encounter. But the encounter was not with other animals, rather with humans. We asked many pointed questions, and so, the ranger seized a teachable moment to educate us and to make us aware of the controversy swirling around poaching. Rhinos are poached regularly and frequently in Natural Reserves and in National Parks. The poachers come in different sizes and shapes but from mostly Asian countries. They dress like and appear like a group of tourists out on a safari, because they use the same jeeps as the National Parks do. They travel on the same safari routes as tourists and their guide listens in on the shortwave radio communication between rangers who indicate any sightings of rhinos. This is how the poachers obtain their position. They depart the well-travelled route, and head towards the position with break-neck speed. They have new strategies now to hunt rhinos. They don’t use guns anymore because the sound would alert a passing jeep with a ranger and tourists. (Rangers, by law, must report any sighting of poachers on any land.) Instead, they use tranquilizer guns that stuns the rhino and quickly renders it unconscious. Once the animal falls, the poacher will saw or hack off its horn and leave the animal to its own defenses. Eventually, it will stand up missing its horn but with a bloody face. If the sawing is done precisely and correctly, the animal will live and the horn will grow back. However, if it is a crude amputation the animal suffers and eventually dies. It is estimated that only 40% of the mutilated rhinos survive. Rhino horns are used for medicinal purposes and to satisfy some mythical tales mainly in China. Thus, it generates a healthy business throughout the Asian continent.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the benefits and the subsequent cruelty of poaching any animals, elephant, rhino or lion. According to statistics, poachers pay thousands of dollars for the thrill of the hunt, the rewards of a trophy or for a piece of the animal for their superstitious beliefs. None of the funds is returned to any of the host villages nor is any of it used for animal rehabilitation in the National Reserves. It’s a money-grabbing scheme for the organizers and for the poaching guides. Until organizers and countries are restricted and regulated in relation to poaching, beautiful animals will continue to be destroyed for human pleasure and profit.
So sad!!!!! And so greedy!!!!!