When Eagles Roar: The Amazing Journey of an African Wildlife Adventurer
by James Alexander Currie
with Bonnie J. Fladung
I am about to take my binoculars down when I see it. A big African male lion, black mane, is padding straight towards me through the moist plain, leaving a trail of glistening droplets clinging to the grass in the morning light. From a vehicle the sighting would have been splendid. On foot, terrifying.
I know from my past experience with male lions that they will hardly ever confront a human, preferring instead to run away. But this one keeps coming albeit nervously and uttering a low call, not unlike the moaning at the end of a full roar. A constant low grunting.
He is about 300 metres away, just padding towards me. I back away from the open floodplain and head for the safety of the car, returning up the rugged path through the thick brush. My experience as a game ranger reminds me to walk slowly, turning to face the lion constantly.
Each time I retreat the lion moves forward, each time I stop, he stops and looks straight at me. I retrace my steps very, very carefully back up the path. I am constantly glancing down, reading the tracks in the soft dirt when I see the worst thing imaginable.
Over my footprints there are the unmistakable fresh tracks of more lions! Bugger.
To be continued....