Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Monday, March 25, 2013

Alas, The End is Here

This post is the end of Maggie's South Africa trip, not quite the end of the world; although it will be for me if the current snowstorm does not quit dumping snow here in Anchorage. It is wet, heavy snow and I have a flat roof.
Anyway, before the cats, I'll show this fine photo of a Warthog with a healthy pair of tusks.
And a good shot of a Woodland Kingfisher. Their staccato call is a ubiquitous sound throughout much of the African countryside.
Another Leopard?  No, it's a cat that I missed when I was in South Africa. Gary and Tom also missed seeing Cheetahs on their recently completed South Africa trip. This Cheetah checks out a local waterhole. Picking out a suitable antelope for dinner perhaps.
Another vigilant Cheetah. I love the lithe musculature and bone structure of this creature that was built for speed.
What an intense gaze. It looks like frozen lightning, ready to strike in an instant.
Cheetahs are also more gregarious than Leopards. Their numbers are not doing nearly as well as Leopards because they are diurnal, and they inhabit wide open country. Unfortunately they make easy targets for fools with rifles. They have disappeared from almost all of their former range.
A nice close up of what are undoubtedly siblings. Thank goodness that there are protected areas where Cheetah populations have a chance for survival. Tourism represents the salvation of Cheetahs and many other wild species.  Travel!
The road is being blocked by the other species of big African cat. Lions are another species of large predator whose population is plummeting wherever they occur. In all of the African national parks that I have visited, I only saw one lion. It was missing it's hind leg because of a poacher's snare.
At least in some places, the upcoming generation has a shot at survival. That is not the case in most African countries. Maggie is very fortunate to have gotten such good views of all these cats.
Three large males; or two males and the ghost of a third. It's a quirk of the digital camera that made the lion in the back appear transparent.
Another one for the dentist; or you can imagine a mouth like that being the last thing you ever see.
And so it ends. What a great adventure it was for Maggie, and vicariously for me as well.

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