Life and death – A game of chance.
We knew the warthogs potential assailants were coming long before the blissfully unaware foraging pigs did, then again we had the advantage of a radio collared animal and a telemetry tracking kit. Somewhere in the scrub planning their latest attack a pack of one of the most endangered large carnivores on the planet awaited their moment, still the warthogs seemed unaware of their presence for there could be no other explanation for their seemingly blase attitude in the face of imminent danger.
Suddenly this serene scene of African wilderness erupted into chaos as the warthogs were at last alerted to the threat. They needed to be as well, for the African wild dogs were already gaining on them. One individual seemed to have been singled out and looked in trouble. Now the real life drama of the natural world was unfolding before myself and my fellow conservation volunteers eyes. Should the wild dogs fail with the attack they would be disappointed but there would be another chance. Should the warthog make one false move, a slight stumble, a moments indecision and it would be game over. No second chances.
The strikingly coloured, highly intelligent dogs were clearly an efficient hunting unit, a seemingly telepathic understanding of their prey’s next move. The high speed chase seemed to be nearing its conclusion and the prey seemingly handed a dud card. In life’s ever present game of chance they looked to be even more desperate and even more doomed as dozens of razor sharp teeth converged ready to apply the coup de grace. And yet when hope seemed lost the warthog was handed a trump card, a burrow unseen to us and presumably the dogs offered it a lifeline. It was evident then as it disappeared into its safe haven that against all the odds the most basic primal instinct of all, the will to live can sometimes trump all.
A little while later and it became clear again that when the dice roll s in your favour you must be prepared to accept the opportunity. The dogs unaware of the gift about to be presented to them ambled leisurely a short distance in front of the research vehicle. The playful antics of the younger pack members a wonderful sight indeed. In a second the whole dynamic of the pack changed, the pace of their travel upped and excited vocalisations made it evident drama was about to once again unfold before us.
By the time we caught up with the pack the kill had been made. They had quite literally very nearly stumbled across their next meal. A female Impala had miscalculated the safety of It’s chosen sleeping place and upon it’s discovery had had nowhere to flee. Instantly surrounded and swiftly dispatched, a dud hand had certainly been handed to her, on the other hand the wild dogs would consider it an ace.
|Spending time in the company of such incredible animals was an absolute privilege.|
|A more ambitious and ultimately unsuccessful hunt.....|
That is pretty much all for this time I hope you enjoyed the blog and thank you for reading all the best, George.Twitter @ReallyWildWykes