Pondoro guide Marius and tracker Eric’s guests were recently treated to a very unusual sighting. They were following two male lions of the Machaton coalition as they were patrolling their territory, when the wind made a sudden shift of direction and the lions immediately changed course and started speeding up. Marius quickly realised that they picked up the scent of a leopard and his kill which guests had been seeing for the last couple of days. He left the lions and raced to the sight making sure that the vehicle was parked in the best possible position and stopped to watch the drama unfold. The leopard, a big male called Chavaluthu, had already left the carcass so there was no danger of him being trapped in the small corkwood tree.
The lions were about 600 meters away from the carcass when the wind carried the scent in their direction. It really is amazing how well adapted the senses of all animals are for survival in the harsh African bush. Lions are obviously good hunters, but scavenging for a meal is certainly not beyond reproach for the kind of the beasts, and to do this a keen sense of smell is vital.
The combined weight of 2 male lions, which must be in excess of 400kg, was too much for the thin branch to bear and the lions made an ungraceful decent to the ground where they continued to feed on the remains of the warthog. What a great sighting thanks to a guide and tracker who managed to anticipate animal behaviour in order to put guests in a good position to enjoy a fabulous sighting.