Friday, November 03, 2006

Safari carnivores

On our safari, we saw thirteen lions, four cheetahs, and a leopard (cries out to be set to music, doesn't it?).

The first lion we saw was a big male, asleep. Morrison drove our van right up
next to him, so close we could have petted him (if we'd wanted to risk a bloody stump where a hand belongs). I helped Isaac climb up on the back of a seat so he could get a better view. His excited, high-pitched voice woke up the lion, who rolled over and stared at Isaac. I was instantly transfixed by panic. What was I doing standing next to a lion with my three year old? So even though
Morrison told me that we were perfectly safe, I made Isaac sit down so his head wasn't sticking out of the van.

As it turned out, I needn't have worried. A few minutes later an elephant lumbered by, her tiny baby elephant (whose picture you can see in the earlier post about Safari Babies) walking not ten feet away from the lion, and he just lazily watched as they went by. "He must have just eaten," Morrison said. It struck me that perhaps the difference between the natural world and the manufactured human world--what it means to be human--is the capacity for greed, taking what you can not because you need it but simply because you can. (What a depressing thought.)

On our morning game drive, we found a leopard who had just killed a wildebeest. He was trying to jump into the tree with it in its mouth so he could consume it uninterrupted up there, but the carcass was simply too heavy. He kept grabbing the carcass in his teeth, then trying (and failing) to climb the tree trunk. He'd sit down and gnaw some more off before he tried again. After about half an hour, he gave up and wandered off, probably to find some water, Morrison guessed. Later at breakfast, I overheard someone else who had been there watching express distaste at the sight. I didn't find it distasteful at all--engrossingly fascinating.

A cheetah running is one of the most graceful things I've ever seen.

When we were in Nairobi, we went to Carnivore restaurant where we ate...lots of meat! Ed, in his post-meal stretch, does a good imitation of a sated carnivore.


Nathan said...

Or, as I like to call it, the standard Bay post-prandial pose. Its the Bay in him.

Uncle Jim said...

Cool Tee shirt Ed! Would Ruth like to attend Engineering State this Summer.