Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Wild dog vs Wildebeest

Todays post is of a sighting which was very special for me, as it was so different, and a complete surprise at the time. There are moments in the bush when everything just comes together, and all your hours of driving and sitting are rewarded with something extra special. On our first evening in Savute in December, we had had a very quiet afternoon drive. The sky was overcast and rain kept threatening. While watching 3 lions do what lions do best (sleep), we got a call that some wild dog had been found quite a way away. Those of you who know wild dog know how highly mobile they are, so it was touch and go whether we would see them even if we raced there. We took the chance anyway. About a km out, we heard that they had disappeared, so we decided to head to a nearby open plain and sit in the hope they would flush some animal out. 

Sitting there, we caught a glimpse of the front runners of the pack heading toward us. They were clearly in 'hunting mode' and very edgy. As they fanned out across the opening they spotted a small herd of wildebeest with 3 very young calves. What they didn't expect is what we witnessed next: the wildebeest were in no mood at all to be hunted, and fought back with an incredible show of bravery. Three of the adults took off after the pack of dogs, and showed no signs of relenting.

Even when the dogs stopped and scanned, the wildebeest would come charging in, trying to trample the hapless, hungry dogs.

Time and again this happened. The clouds lifted and presented us with the very last light of day, that special golden dusty light that Botswana is famous for. A huge rainbow lit up the background. It was quite possibly the most beautiful moment, and really got that leg of our trip off to a running start.

From a photographic perspective, shooting such fast moving animals in such low light was a challenge. I used a lot of the panning technique to try and capture the movement and have some photographic memory of the sighting. I hope you enjoy the result! For me, it was just confirmation of why I love the bush so much. You never know what you may find and when Nature comes to play, she plays well! 

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful Laura! I’m looking forward to the next blog already!