Thursday 11 November 2010

It Makes Me Want to Cry..........

Let's get this straight right from the beginning - I am not talking about my renovations. Yes, they do make me want to cry, but the less said about them, the better.

What we are talking about here is friendship and its complete breakdown into a vicious rivalry in a matter of seconds.

We are talking about two bezzie mates, two BFFs, one minute strutting down the road, shoulder to shoulder, casting their eyes over their little corner of the world, their domain. The next minute they are fighting tooth and claw, tearing flesh from those shoulders that were rubbing together in friendship just minutes earlier. Blood dripping from raw, open wounds, one friend dismissing the other with little more than a disdainful look and the flick of a tail.

Ah yes, we are not talking men here, we are talking lions. And what ripped this friendship to shreds, literally? Yep, a female - a beguiling lioness that passed them by, sashaying hips, dusky pheromones permeating the air, drifting seductively up the sensitive nostrils of those two mighty lions.

So, here is how it all went down:

First glimpse of our handsome twosome occurs - did I see something in the brush? Did something move in there? Is that an eye peering out, staring right at me?

STOP the CAR!!!!!

And out of the bush steps one magnificent beast - our first lion of Etosha National Park in Namibia, Southern Africa. It is a splendid male, amber-eyed, huge shaggy mane, muscled, lithe and limber. His honeyed coloured body just flows through the undergrowth and he steps silently on to the dusty road in front of us. He turns, gives us a cursory glance and starts to wander slowly down the road - his road, his speed.

Seconds later, another male slinks on to the path next to him. The lads are out and about, looking for trouble, looking for laughs. One of them decides that it might be fun to attack the rather small vehicle that has stopped in front of them. He lunges at the back of the car, huge forelimbs encircling the vehicle, enveloping nearly half of the car in a playful hug. The occupants were hanging out of the windows, laughing, shouting "Here kitty, kitty!" The car began to shake beneath the lions behemoth paws and I have never seen faces go so white so quickly, or windows wound up so fast. As the lion released his embrace and returned to the side of his best mate, you could almost here them laughing, congratulating each other on scaring the insignificant, weak and feeble humans inside their little tin boxes.

They carry on down the road, side by side, shoulder to shoulder.

One sees a huge steaming pile of elephant dung in the middle of the road. He stops, stretches, opens his mouth in a huge yawn and then has a pleasant, relaxing roll in the enormous pile of poo. Meanwhile, his buddy is having a good scratch up against an old, gnarled, half dead tree on the side of the road.

All is good, all is well with the world.

But then everything changes. Both lions lift their massive shaggy heads and their noses sample the air. Their muscles tense, their tails start to swish vigorously back and forth. They gaze intently into the bush - everything goes silent, everything holds its breath......

Here she comes - with a swing of her hips, a lick of her lips........... and all hell breaks loose.

Dust billows out from beneath the writhing, twisting and rolling bodies of these two lion kings. Teeth clash, claws rip and the air is filled with the deep, resonating roars of these two proud and driven rivals.

The lioness looks on dispassionately, perhaps appearing a little bored with the whole thing. She has seen it all before and patiently waits for the victor to claim his spoils.

A few minutes later, and all is quiet once more. There can be only one King. The winner claims his prize, while the loser retires to the shade of a struggling, scraggy bush to lick his bleeding wounds.

Nature - red in tooth and claw.

It just makes me want to cry........


Sistertex said...



What is there left to say.
Except it is hard to watch, though the photos are excellent.

I need a nap after all that.

jay said...

Wow. That is a stunning series of photos, DBM, you should be proud to have captured that, with such skill and .. stuff. With all the adrenaline that must have been coursing through your veins, you still had the presence of mind to set dials and click shutters and you were rewarded with a magnificent set of pictures!

Yep, hard to watch, isn't it? You have to wonder if the loser recovered or if infection set in .. but it must be a simple fact of life for those animals.

Cortes said...

Nature, brutish and ugly at times. You have captured one of those times. Great shots DBM.

jabblog said...

Raw nature - difficult to watch, impossible to forget.
Excellent photos - well done capturing them through the tears,

English Mum said...

Wow. Brilliant shots. Bloody men. (literally in this case)

Don't Bug Me! said...

Sistertex: Very hard to watch - I can't watch nature programs anymore. I thought you were supposed to get tougher as you got older?

Jay: I have to think that everything healed up and that he is still out there, strutting his stuff, sniffing up the females, fighting the good fight.

Cortes: Indeed - a bit like Mr DBM, don't you think? Just kidding everyone - Mr. DBM is the complete opposite of ugly and brutish!

Jabblog: We also saw some hunting females - I was so relieved when they didn't catch anything! Although they did look a little hungry....

EM: Of course, they will blame the woman - she should have been wearing a veil or something.

mainly mongoose (Lynda) said...

Please don't cry; they'll be the best of chums again as soon as the lady is in the family way.

Pride males are renowned for their highly equitable gentleman's agreement of 'first come, first served' when dealing with receptive lionesses. This was just a spot of bad timing (or good timing from a photographic perspective) in that both males found her at exactly the same time.

Congratulations on the stunning photos and wonderful prose (as always).

Carolina said...

Again your photos are just STUNNING! Such a presence of mind to be able to take these. I even find it hard to watch things like this on TV.
It makes me want to cry too. Stupid men! (I'm sure he licked his wounds and survived. Think positive.) And do they learn from the experience? No, of course not. Do they flick a coin next time a female is in the vicinity? Do they say: "I had fun with the previous one, this one is yours"?
Stupid men!

Baino said...

OMG you've snapped a wonder here. Awesome photographs. Poor puss looks very sorry for himself but the shots are absolutely awesome.

Johnny Nutcase said...

perfectly summed up in that second to last line. amazing shots - crazy good!

Don't Bug Me! said...

Lynda: I just love your blog! All those baby meercats. And thank you for reassuring me that all will be well with my poor lion.

Carolina: I can`t watch anything nasty on TV anymore. I gave up trying to watch a nature program yesterday, since I spent most of the time covering up the picture! Getting even softer in my old age.

Baino: He does, doesn`t? I just hope he was OK.

Johnny Nutcase: Thank you.

JeffScape said...

That. is awesome.