July 11, 2012

The lion whisperer.

We have established my love for giraffes. I will write about giraffes in Zambia soon, because something very exciting happened there, but for now I am stuck with the lions. And so are you. I apologize in advanced, but I will be showing you a boring amount of lion pictures now. I tried to edit them after realizing I had about 100. I managed to delete… 5…maybe 7. I do wonder what would have happened if we had seen cubs. I think I would have had a thousand pictures to share now, so be grateful that our lions were old…about 17 months.
On our day off we had the opportunity to visit David Youldon’s ALERT in Livingstone. We had all met David on our speech night before and he is some sort of Crocodile Dundee for lions. It helped that he is handsome and usually doesn’t do many public appearances, so we all felt quite special and there was lots of giggle around the camp fire that night. He was telling us how his rehabilitation programme for lions works and also showed clips from his documentary Lion Country. Of course it was me gasping loudly (which made everyone else laugh) and almost crying when he proudly reported that one of his young protégées had killed a baby giraffe all by herself. One wouldn’t assume I’d be keen on the lions after hearing that story. Knowing that this is life, this is nature though, I still was keen enough, so on Saturday we went off to play with the lions.

Upon arrival we got a whole lot of safety instructions by the staff and I think some girls got a bit pale, realizing that we were about to engage with actual, alive lions. We also got handed a little stick with a strict reminder to never hit a lion with it. As if. That stick was tiny. We were just supposed to tap it on the ground and firmly say NO! if a lion came running towards us. Mh. I was hoping I could add a bit of German accent to my NO! and it would be enough to scare it away…
After a short walk in the bush we met two lioness sisters lounging for a photo op with us. They were both really good little posers and so were we. I may just add - if I was a lion, I would have been annoyed with us oohing and aahing girlies, but luckily they were sport and we left with awesome pictures, all limbs attached, and just a slightly raised heartbeat.
Next stop got even more exciting as another pair of lionesses had managed to kill … no, not a giraffe, but an entire buffalo thingy. Sorry for being vague with this description, but I really don’t know what exactly it was. It was black, it had horns, it may have just been a cow, but obviously buffalo sounds way more exciting. The lions in charge were hanging in the shade near their kill, looking like little kids who had played a bit too excessively with mother’s lipstick and the dead buffalo thingy was looking, well, dead.
So now you know how it all came about. Without further ado, here the actual reason for this post :
100 lion pictures.

Just kidding!
I mean... just look at this face!

Lazy lioness sisters lounging.

Get your damn paw out of my face, sis!

Lion love.

Me, the lion whisperer.

Tail to tickle nose.

Dead buffalo thingy and exhausted lioness chilling.

Who played with mommy's lipstick?

Taken from the German kids show Hallo Spencer and its little dragon Poldi: Ich will Dir fressen! (I want to you eat!)

The thinker.


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