*warning: some of the pictures in this post are a little graphic and show lions eating their prey. Feel free to skip to the link up if you don't want to see lions eating a Buffalo!*
While I loved seeing the Cape Buffalo, Elephants, and Rhinos, the big cats were the real highlight of the Big Five. First up: Lions, King of the Jungle.
King of the Jungle
First things first: the name King of the Jungle is kind of silly because lions technically live in the Savannah. BUT lions were once found in more jungle-like locations so I suppose we'll let the name stick. Moving on …
These animals are beasts: strong, fast, graceful, and incredibly lazy. After spending time watching lions, I now understand that their typical day is as follows: sleep, eat, sleep, casual stroll, sleep, kill something if available, sleep, eat, sleep. They basically sleep and eat all day long. That is why I, like so many others, was outraged when Melissa Backman shared this tweet:
An incredible day hunting in South Africa! Stalked inside 60-yards on this beautiful male lion…what a hunt! pic.twitter.com/CGdDoRGTF2
— Melissa Bachman (@MelissaBachman) November 1, 2013
(side note: this article made me want to punch the computer screen). Let's be honest for a second: It doesn't take much skill to “stalk a lion”. Lions literally sit in the shade all day and only move around when looking for food. Unlike a deer, lions don't take off at the slightest sound since they are at the top of the food chain and have no predators beyond humans. Yes, hunting lions is technically legal but many people are working hard towards making it an illegal activity. While the lion population is very large, the species populates less than 25% of historical territories.
The first night of our safari we seriously lucked out. Not only did we get to see lions eating a Cape Buffalo that they had hunted the night before, but we were able to see the legendary White Lions of Timbavati. White Lions are extremely rare; these lions are so rare that some of the staff members working at our game lodge had never seen them during their years! We were lucky enough to see 2 of the 3 local White Lions and a few others casually snack on the buffalo! This was probably the highlight of the safari.