Entries for the Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year 2017 competition are lighting up our inbox at an incredible rate. Every week we receive hundreds of photos, however, this week there was one in particular that caught our attention.
The photographer, Sumarie van der Merwe, had the following to say about the event:
We realised that the two lionesses we had just seen were watching some nearby zebra and wildebeest. We figured they might just start a hunt soon (it would be our first kill we had witnessed), in midday, and very hot conditions! But, we could see one of the lionesses was desperate. They came a bit closer to the grazing wildebeest, where a few mothers with calves picked up their scent and fled in different directions.
As she came close enough (or as the lioness thought) she started to chase. In a cloud of dust, one could not see much as it was a bit far away. She missed! ‘Tail between the legs’, she came walking back all the way from where she hoped to get some lunch, with no take-away this time…
In the meantime, while we waited until she made her way down, we watched a warthog family in the shade near our vehicle. The four piglets were running and playing while mom and dad peacefully grazed nearby. They gave us such a laugh! As the lioness made her way back I made a comment that we must not get too attached to the piggies, as anything can happen…
The lioness slowly made her way back to the other lioness. She was dead tired and it was scorching hot outside. But we watched in anticipation as the warthogs caught the lioness’s eye… I knew that something was going to happen, I just knew!
The lioness immediately went into hunting mode, again. Slowly, she crouched towards the warthogs, step-by-step she came nearer and suddenly there she went, charging towards the warthog family. Pigs ran in all directions, I just kept my eyes and camera on the charging lioness – and the one piglet that had separated from its family.
Clicking away and watching the hunt unfold, it ended as soon as it began! In a cloud of dust the lioness came to a halt – piglet in the mouth. She finally got her snack for lunch… a snack she needed so badly, as she is a lactating mother. She made her way to some shade where she enjoyed her hard earned meal, not sharing one scrap of meat with the other lioness.
Although it was one of the smallest little warthog piglets, it was still out first kill witnessed in the wild!”