Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wild Caught Baby Giraffe

In the wild, lions must dine on the closest food source they can spot. The easiest meal is an animal that has been separated from the herd, or a young vulnerable beast whose mother and friends aren't close enough to kick ass.

Case in point: a full grown giraffe can actually kill a large lion with a swiftly moving hoof that sends the king of the jungle flying into oblivion. The height of the gangly giraffe also makes it near impossible, even for a leaping big cat, to sink its teeth into a hunk of flesh large enough to grab hold and bring down its prey.

The worst sight ever seen on film, for this animal lover, was a mother giraffe and her baby loping across a savannah with a hungry lion in pursuit. The calculating cat with yellow eyes waited until the baby was far enough away from his mother, tall as a tree, to take down the young'un at her side.

As he dragged the exquisite young thing into a nearby bush to begin in on the chops, the mother stood only fifteen feet away. The cameraman managed to get a full face shot of the mama as she looked at her baby, now merely a delicious meal. The lion was content to allow the mother to stand at close range while he dined on wild caught baby giraffe, as if mocking her with his indifference and obvious self-satisfied pleasure.

The mother giraffe's huge brown eyes stared unwaveringly at the site in front of her. It is impossible to describe her expression in one word so here are two: disbelief and helplessness. Perhaps "helpless" fits best. It was heartbreaking to watch the vulnerable, impossibly long-necked creature as she gazed upon the wreckage. Baboons scream and shout; water buffaloes snort and threaten with lowered horns, birds screech and flap around the carnage of their fellow winged ones. But this noble creature of great stature simply stood vigil as her life's work vanished, torn into shreds of meat.

Something about the quiet grief of this mother has left an indelible stamp. Perhaps it is because she didn't flee from the site but simply stood and bore witness. Her abject presence and dignity will never be forgotten.


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