LIONS AND CHEETAHS AND DOGS, OH MY
On the way to meet one of the world’s most endangered animals – the white rhino – I come across some other interesting characters.
First, there is a pack of African wild dogs – which, I’m told are quite hard to find – on the open plain chasing after jackals. They are the size of a small dog, but when they work as a pack they can take down a zebra or wildebeest.
Then, we see a beautiful cheetah and an 8-month old baby – another lucky find.
The baby even attempts to chase our vehicle. An endearing sight I will not soon forget.
Next, we track down a collared lion using a radio signal. I’m happy to act as the radar tower until a storm brews and lightning beckons and I realize that holding up a metal antenna might not be such a good idea! The animals are tracked to learn more about their behavior, I learn from Simba Zhuo, a Chinese conservationist working in Kenya’s Maasai Mara.
Lions are now endangered – falling from a population of 200,000 a hundred years ago to only 20,000 today. This is because of habitat loss, largely to agriculture uses, and conflict with livestock. On top of that, their bones are now targeted for Asian medicinal use, because tiger numbers have been so depleted.
And then, I meet Najin and Suni.
More on that soon.