The Last Moment

Taken at The Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Having lunch at camp, I had a volunteer ask me some questions and as she walked away we heard an odd sound, “Alex, what’s that?” she queried nervously. “I’m not sure. It sounds like a leopard but wrong. Let me get one of the other staff and we’ll see if they know.” As I turned my back for a a moment to get one of the other rangers, another came running out of his room yelling “Get in the car! The lions made a kill!”

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We collected everyone together and into the game viewer. Not 80 metres down the road we pinpointed the sound – it was the sound of an animal dying. Three of the Zimbabwean Pride’s sub-adults were on the scene. We had seen the lions earlier that day with their mothers having a kill stolen off them by the two dominant males. The youngsters were making their first kill without their mothers! Females Kuda and Kutamba with the aide of one of their brothers had pulled down not just anything – a fully grown adult male waterbuck! The waterbuck was still kicking (literally) and Kutamba had to be careful as she started tearing off … well, a sensitive area.

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Over the next few days, every caution had to be taken at Siyafunda’s camp as the lions would migrate from the kill to the shelter of our garage but defeinately a holiday to remember for our volunteers and a special memory for all of the staff as well.The moment of this photograph was likely its last moment alive as it went limp almost immediately after its eyes went white.


–Alex Tweedie


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