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13 seconds to the end

By Nina Sundén on 2013.06.20 In In the bush The pride

This is my 20th post on Outdrr. For me the number 20 means a lot when thinking about the Bila Shaka pride. The number reminds me of that when I first met the pride this spring they were 20. Now, they are only 19.

It is March 14th and I am sitting in my car watching the pride rest on the north side of the Bila Shaka lugger. The afternoon is very quiet. It is so quiet that I am thinking about perhaps leaving earlier. But then in the far distance I can see a large herd of buffalo. They are grazing towards the Bila Shaka lugger. Hundreds of them. Maybe even a thousand buffalo. For every minute they are getting closer and closer to the pride. During night or when a single buffalo faces a pride of lion the situation favors the lion. But today there is something else in the air.

Soon the lions take notice of the herd and the little cubs curl up together behind a little green bump in the ground. In their body language I can see their fear. The lionesses also notice the buffalo. Crouching, they slowly begin to move away. But in the middle of the pride there is also two honeymoon lions who do not think about the potential danger of the herd. Suddenly the male stands up. He stretches his muscular body and looks out over the plains. Instantly the buffalo spot him. In a blink of an eye you can feel how the buffalo’s mood shift from peace to anger. Buffalos hate lions. They are the ultimate enemies. Stress spreads in the herd and soon the herd of buffalo is almost boiling – dust flying in the air from agitated hooves – birds leaving their rest on the buffalo backs and now circling in the air. The herd looks like a political riot that has gone out of control. Then the chase begins. As a speeding train the black herd of buffalo run after the pride. More dust in the air and my adrenalin level booms. With the herd closing up the pride crosses the ditch and for a second I calm down. It looks like the buffalo will stay on the other side of the small water stream. But the pressure from hundreds and hundreds of angry buffalo is building up and just as I think the lions will be fine the buffalo storm into the lugger and over on the other side. The pride runs for their lives. Bibi starts running last. With two small cubs a chase like that is unfair and hard to do for Bibi. In just seconds the herd and Bibi meet. Angry eyes. Angry hooves. Dust. Panic. Roars. There is a horrible feeling in the air. The cubs are separated from Bibi and one of them run in the direction of our vehicle. After the little cub come the buffalo. The cub looks so tiny and it is running for its life. I wish I could, but in this moment I cannot see a good ending. It is just an impossible situation. Heartbreaking. Nothing can be done. The chase is on. Soon there is no gap between the cub and the buffalo and the cubs runs between the legs, is hit by the buffalo, rolls over, gets up on its feet, runs, runs, runs. One three-month old cub in front of several hundred giants. In seconds it is over. There is buffalo everywhere. I sit down in the car, my hands shaking and my heart rushing.


These are some of my images from this tragic moment. From the first to the last image, only 13 seconds. Later, Bibi walking away from the Bila Shaka lugger with only one cub. Days later she came back calling for the lost cub.

Copyright © Nina Sundén Siemiatkowski, All Rights Reserved.

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2 Responses to "13 seconds to the end"

    Comments (2)

  1. karin wrote:

    Åh nej mitt hjärta gick i tusen bitar.. Vilket hemskt öde!

    Du skriver så himla bra och tar fantastiska foton, det är en fröjd att gå in på din blogg (bortsett från idag då).


  2. Ninni wrote:

    Hej Nina, har just läst din post för min dotter som är nio år. Tack för att du skildrar naturen på det sätt du gör och att vi får ta del av det här hemma. Vi följer med spänning och lär oss mer och mer av att läsa om dina erfarenheter. Tack!

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