Theatre personality Sanjna Kapoor turns lensman and guide in Zambia's South Luangwa Valley National Park where she encounters affectionate cubs and overzealous hippos who decided to chase her into the horizon
Being privy to nature’s secrets and watching a leopard rip a yellow baboon into two, theatre person Sanjna Kapoor shares a few snapshots from her travels and outdoor adventures while at the South Luangwa Valley National Park in Zambia
The herd of stylish hippopotamus were an eternal delight! Except the one that decided to chase us and almost managed to ram our vehicle. That was pretty scary!
When the mighty lion roared
We learnt of a pride of lions of six females, two males and eight cubs, from two to six months of age. This was an affectionate pride not only between adults and their cubs but also among the adults, constantly cuddling up to each other. One morning, we spotted the cubs in a frisky playful mood — climbing a tree and one of them actually got stuck in its mangled branches.
It took huge amounts of manipulation to free himself of the branches and clamber down. On a full moon, we followed the females as they left their cubs at their regular spot, to hunt. Sure enough, within 30 minutes of army-like maneuvering, they had downed a nyala antelope. What was astonishing was the speed with which they devoured it. At one moment, three of them got into a tug-of-war and stayed static for fifteen minutes — without giving an inch to their opponent. Amazing!
Laws of the jungle
On our way home on the last evening, we came across a tree surrounded by tourist vehicles and a troop of yellow baboons. The baboons were making a racket. Apparently, there was a leopard up the tree and two baboons as well! The aggressive baboons were trying to tease the leopard away.
Within minutes of us reaching the spot and understanding the situation, the leopard, in what seemed like a fit of rage, scrambled down the tree and sped after the troop of baboons — who scattered in hysteria. Within seconds, the leopard had a baboon in her mouth, to the shock and horror of the baboons who continued to harass and scream at the leopard. Dropping her kill, she pranced up and down showing her power and then dragged her kill up a tree. It only after she began to eat the baboon did the troop stop their screaming, and began to move away from the scene.
Fight for it, mate!
Fighting for territory or females happens with giraffes too. We saw two male giraffes go at each other violently — the only thing was that it seemed to be happening in slow motion. They glided their heads and necks — their only weapons at each other.
One of the more experienced giraffes was clearly aiming at his opponents legs whilst the other was aiming at his opponents flank. The sound of impact was colossal and the pain and bruises this must have caused must have been intense. This went on for 25 minutes and then they gradually drifted apart, as if in amicable resolution to their conflict.
A choking leopard
Here, a leopard had dragged his kill up a tree. Suddenly, he began to choke, and it was amazing to watch him try to free his throat of a bone — even trying to use his paws in frustration. Finally, he was free of the bone and rested a while before he continued with his feed.
Words and pics courtesy/ Sanjna Kapoor
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