Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Here kitty, kitty

There is a whole pecking order among the carnivores and scavengers. It goes something like this: The hunters -- lions, leopards, cheetah, etc. -- find themselves some breakfast. If it's a good day, they manage to kill it, and eat all the tasty bits. Next, it's a race between the smaller ground based scavengers -- the hyena and jackals -- and the big sharp-beaked birds -- the eagles, buzzards, and vultures. The birds use their excellent eyesight and soaring ability to monitor big swaths of savannah, looking out for animals on the hunt. The jackals and hyena either track the hunters on the ground, and wait for them to make a kill (and have their portion), or they look to the skies, find where the birds are circling, and head in that direction.

There is a third group looking out for the kills, and that is the people in trucks, out on safari -- like us :-). We keep our eye out for animals on the move, birds in the sky, or, most typically, long lines of other trucks stopped on the road. This morning we came upon four or five other trucks, and then saw the cheetah. They had caught a young zebra, and had made a nice breakfast of it, but got spooked when the trucks rolled up, and the cheetah sauntered away. There were three of them who had worked together, and this turned out to be typical each of the cheetah sightings we had.

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