Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lions and Tigers and . . .

We've all been to the zoo. Seen the lions and tigers pace back and forth, occasionally fixing their eyes on a small child. In our two week safari to the Tarangire National Park, the Serengeti National Park, and the Ngorongoro Crater, we saw lions and cheetahs and jaguars differently. Co-existing mostly peacefully in the wild, sweeping plains and grasslands, the lions near other animals -- zebras, impalas, Cape buffalo, wildabeests, and giraffes.

Up at 4:30 am for the morning game drive, we rode 4 to 6 in a jeep. We called these open air jeeps "meals on wheels" after we came around a bumpy dirt road in the Serengeti to find this lioness waiting for us. She looked us over and casually sauntered back into the waist high grasses, invisible within moments.

Curiously, all the animals seem to cohabit quite contentedly -- until the lion starts hunting. Then the herd animals get antsy, alert. They call to each other in reassuring snorts and whistles.

At a small waterhole, we spotted first a cub, then another, and another frolicking along a river bank. Their mother slept nearby, then awoke and cuffed the cubs until they followed her back into the tall grasses.

Tune in tomorrow for an answer to the question:  Do lions sleep in trees?

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