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This once in a lifetime sighting happened towards the end of last season. I had award winning film maker Mirra Bank and her husband with me, guiding them for a week from Musekese Camp. They were busy filming this remarkable sighting on their film cameras whilst I managed to keep steady enough to shoot a few shots with my stills camera (all be it with a 200m lens, hence the grainy crop factor of the images). The story and background to this sighting as follows: It was whilst on an afternoon drive from Musekese Camp, Jeffery & McKeith Safaris in north central Kafue National Park, Zambia that we witnessed the most unexpected and as far a we know, as yet photographically un-documented, sighting ever… We had just had the first brief rain storm of the season and the wildlife was noticeably excited and full of energy, with young animals running around merrily and the migratory birds in their hundreds picking off the newly hatching ants and termites. As we rounded a bend in a very attractive stretch of miombo woodland our guide Tyrone heard the frantic alarm calls of a herd of impala. Putting his binoculars to his eyes he shouted almost immediately, let’s go! As we moved further along the track to get a better look at what the commotion was all about he was explaining that he had seen a grey shape tussling with what looked to be an young impala, Tyrone assumed it was a baboon snatching an easy kill (as sometimes happens at this time of year of plenty). What we found however was absolutely not a baboon, but a lone, single warthog acting rather franticly, but what was it doing exactly? The other guests in the vehicle were asked to use their camcorders to record this moment, which they did. We sat and watched as a still very much alive and kicking young impala was set upon, attacked and gored to death by the warthog. In what seemed to be a frantic rage the warthog would tusk and stab and throw the kicking body of the impala around the woodland, all the time the mother of the baby was alarm calling and frantically running to and fro in an attempt to distract the killer warthog. It was so very strange to watch this unfold, it was a typical scene and setting, one that you might expect to find from a 'typical’ predator. Tyrone explained that it was not wholly uncommon to find warthog (and a number of other unexpected species) feeding on carcasses or carrion, especially at this time of year (the end of the dry season, when wildlife is a little more stressed and certain minerals and salts may not be so ready available in the bush). But to witness a warthog actively catch, kill and consume a baby impala was something that was very hard to explain away. One wonders how often this may actually happen but we simply do not see it? We did feel sorry for the impala mother however as who needs enemies when you’ve got friends like the warthog! Larger than Kruger, Kafue National Park is the largest National Park in Zambia as well as being relatively unknown and unexplored. It is one of the last real wilderness areas left in Africa, home to vital global carnivore population including wild dog, lion, leopard and cheetah as well as one of Southern Africa’s most important elephant populations.
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