The ethical conundrum of visiting, conservation versus interference
06.02.2020 - 06.02.2020
Tumbili Picnic Site
This site is part of a public camp ground, and quite large and well organised, with lots of tables and a clean, modern toilet. Oh how things have changed since our very first camping safari in The Serengeti 2007!
Von der Decken's Hornbill
I get side tracked by a hornbill flitting in amongst the trees and the parked cars at the picnic site.
They are funny looking things when they are taking a dust bath!
A Rueppell's Long Tailed Glossy Starling has found a large piece of bread left behind by picnickers.
A cheetah mum and her sub-adult cub survey the countryside from the top of a rock. The mum has a nasty gash on her chest, most likely caused by an antelope horn, and is looking very hungry.
They've spotted some Hartebeest in the distance and are obviously considering their options for lunch.
It looks like she might be going for it.
Nope, just having a stretch.
Oh yes, she is, she was obviously just limbering up.
The cub follows.
For a while they stroll through the long grass together.
Mum moves on and somehow the cub gets left behind. Lost and confused, he starts to call out to his mum.
Mum climbs atop another rock and they are soon reunited.
He gets left behind again when mum continues her quest for food, ”You need to keep up son.”
The cheetah still has her eye on those hartebeest, but cannot work out how to get to them – there are some 70 or so tourist vehicles between her and them. I know the wildlife is protected as a result of safari tourists coming here, with locals encouraged to conserve the animals rather than hunt them but it still feels all wrong, as if we are interfering with nature.
Where mother goes, son follows.
She's off again.
And so is the youngster.
We can hear mum calling him, and suddenly he breaks into a run, bouncing up and down in the long grass as he goes.
Constantly on the move, here and there, back and forth. At one stage we find the cub trying to hide in the long grass right by the car.
This rock looks like a good place to get a view over the plains.
And the cub follows.
Junior has spotted something. Is it suitable for lunch?
Not at all – the cheetahs may be brave hunters, but a large baboon spooks them and they disappear into the long grass.
The cheetahs are not the only ones feeling concerned as the baboons walk between the vehicles and even jump on top of one of the cars looking for food.
The can be quite aggressive and cause a lot of damage should they attack.
Time to move on.
Three Banded Plover
Pin Tailed Whydah
Lilac Breasted Roller
I know this is the main road through Serengeti, which is used not only by safari vehicles, but also by heavy goods trucks; but here the surface was pretty good in the first place! Wouldn't it be so much more sensible to try and sort out some of the smaller, muddier tracks we've been along, where in some places the road is not even passable?
Steel Blue Whydah
Would you believe we see another leopard in a tree?
There are quite a few vehicles here already, but one by one they drive off as the cat just relaxes on a branch, licking herpaws and generally not doing a lot. When she starts to yawn, we know she will soon make a move, and after about half an hour, we are the only people left watching when she slowly makes her way across the tree branches. As always, patience sure pays off!
Within five minutes, she has made her way down from the tree – unfortunately hidden by the vegetation so no photos.
White Rumped Helmetshrike
I mentioned to Malisa earlier how surprised I was at the lack of 'plains game' such as giraffe, zebra and antelopes. With that, we come across a giraffe.
Malisa estimates that this youngster is less than three months old
All this excitement has made us hungry, and we call into the Visitor's Centre Picnic Area for lunch.
Thank you Calabash Adventures for another amazing safari.