Sunday, May 11, 2014

King of the Jungle

Stereotypes are way too simple, you know: black rhino are shy and retiring, the lion is the king of the jungle ... ranger Frances Hannah explains that what you expect is not always what you get.

I was approaching a block of open plane grassland, the male lion and lioness were well hidden in the long grass but I could see the other vehicle on a sighting in the distance.  I was making my way towards the other vehicle when a young black rhino bull stepped out of the thicket to my right and gave us a fantastic sighting, head held high, curious yet timid.  Once he grew bored of our clicking cameras he moved back into the thicket of knob thorns and out of our view, or so we thought!

We carried on towards the lions; the male was sitting in eager anticipation; he clearly was waiting for something from the female that she was not willing to give him.  As we were enthralled in the lion sighting I saw a dark figure come stomping out across the plane.  Mr rhino was not putting up with coming second best and he was making a direct beeline for my vehicle.   I changed gears to reverse, ready to get out quickly if needed, the young bull sniffed the air, he was out of range of the female lioness, but was about to walk straight past the male lion!  My heart was beating as the ground between the rhino and my vehicle grew less and less.  As soon as the bull got whiff of the male it was like a trigger went loose!  The rhino bull turned suddenly to face the lion a mere 20 metres to his left and our majestic male lion became petrified and skulked low into the grass.  The rhino bull gave one grunt and went full charge towards the lion!  The male lion took off like a cat caught eating the pet budgie; the rhino was galloping behind him with no signs of giving up the chase!

The black rhino chased the male lion right out of the grassy planes, over the road and off into the next field where the rhino diverted off up the road.  The male lion gave a few roars and moans, obviously feeling very foolish for being chased by a young rhino bull!  When the male lion returned to his grassy rest spot, his ego bruised and reputation dented; he felt as if he needed to re establish his manhood, so he went up to the female with determination and all he got was a paw to the face and a very unwelcoming growl!   Who did we say was the king of the jungle again??