With my Own Eyes
LION VS JACKALS, KGALAGADI
In January this year, my husband Francois and I spent a long weekend in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. We stayed a night at Mata-Mata and set off into the park as soon as the gates opened the next morning. Between Veertiende and Dertiende boreholes, we spotted something in the Auob River. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I realised it was a giraffe lying down. I hoped it was just resting, but I also knew that giraffes rarely lie down flat on the ground as this one was doing… As we approached, it became clear the giraffe was dead. There was one lion on the scene 1 & 2 . We surmised that it must have killed the giraffe earlier that morning. We’ve been going to the Kgalagadi for 13 years and it was the first time we’d seen a lion on a giraffe kill. Of course, where there’s a kill, there are black-backed jackals. At first there were only two, but more arrived in time. The lion had just opened the giraffe’s stomach and hadn’t eaten much yet. Sometimes it disappeared up to its shoulders as it ate from the carcass 3 . There were two other vehicles at the scene. The lion lay next to the carcass for ages – sometimes eating and sometimes resting in the shade. Eventually the jackals worked up enough courage to sneak closer, but the lion quickly chased them off 4 . The lion tried to drag the giraffe into the shade 5 , but it was too heavy. It was not impressed by the jackals and it was determined not to share its catch with them. The jackals gave up after the lion chased them one more time. When we left to drive to our next overnight spot, the lion was still lying in the shade, keeping an eye on its bounty.