The story of Limpy and her cubs

Morning Ride: Binita and I were the only ones in the car for the morning ride today. After seeing the usual suspects (Impala, Kudu, Zebras, Waterbuck, etc.), we heard loud cracking in the bush on a hill to our left. Michael (the guide) drove the Range Rover through some thick bush to a bachelor party of 3 large male elephants. One of them completely destroyed a tree in front of us and ate its bark. We gazed at this scene for a good 20 minutes.

One of the most beautiful birds in Kruger is the Lilac-breasted Roller. When he sits in the morning or evening sun, his colors shine. Look at him in the video I took this morning. Have you ever seen a more beautiful and colorful bird?

Last night at dinner, Steve told us the story of Limpy. Limpy was a lioness who had contracted a severe case of tuberculosis. She was limping and had growths all over her body. In this state, she gave birth to two cubs (male and female) but was having difficulty feeding them. She could barely hunt in her state and had not produced enough milk for the cubs. The cubs had stunted growth. Limpy was captured along with the cubs and all three were tested for tuberculosis. She came out positive but the cubs were negative. A decision was made to destroy Limpy so as not to infect other animals. There was no decision made as to what to do about the cubs. They were kept in an enclosure within Kruger National Park.

One morning, about a month ago, the cubs escaped. Decision made! The chances of the cubs surviving in the wild were very slim. They were only thirteen months old, but looked like nine-month olds. They were short and didn’t have the skills to hunt. This was the conventional thinking.
Today, we saw the cubs. They had taken down a Kudu and had fed on them. Their bellies were full. They were restless though; moving from the shade of one tree to another near the kill. They were probably wary of other lions and hyenas in the area. An encounter with either would probably be fatal for the cubs. We were happy that they were honing their hunting skills and will have survived for another few days. This is a hard place for a wild animal; even a lion.

Evening Ride: The highlight of the ride came with the sighting of a Black Rhino at close range. People go to Kruger dozens of times before spotting a Black Rhino. We spotted two today!

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