Robbing the King

The Savannah was vast and covered with lush green shrubs quenched by the long rains. The herds of Dik Dik, Thompson Gazelles, Impalas and Zebras grazed freely. Not far away the black rhino grazed unbothered by the oxpecker feasting on the ticks on its back. There was simple harmony that no words could explain; the vast wildlife roaming free without a care in the world, flocks hundreds of kilometers from hooting, crashing, cell phones ringing and people blasting profanity-laden ‘music’.

The day was long and warm and the animals slowly retreated to shelter in the minimal shrub there was. Some tried to submerge themselves in the tall grass to try and rest from the heat. Suddenly the calm herds slowly began to raise their heads and began to flee. A male Impala leisurely grazing leapt in the air and fled in the opposite direction of its flock. Two Lionesses were behind it in hot pursuit, sprinting frantically. The Impala leapt as hard and fast as it could.

The Impala leapt over a boulder and just as it was about to land on the tall savannah grass, it was ripped in the belly by a Lioness who lay in ambush beside the boulder. The other Lionesses caught up and began to devour the poor Impala as life drained from it. The sun was now setting and the Lionesses now sat eating steadily. Each Llioness had taken her share of Impala and sought a different location to feed.

But this was soon disturbed by an unusual guttural sound. The smell of the creature groaning unusually was now moving closer. The animal seemed to be in a huge flock, with sound moving from one side to the next. What the Lionesses were not aware of was that these creatures were Morans and they were three young men. These young men walked in a zigzag manner making strong guttural sounds. Teto led the crew with his spear in hand, clad in a red shuka now flapping violently revealing his left thigh with his maasai knife strapped to it. One young man was sweating profusely, the youngest of the flock, had snapped off a plant and rubbed it under his armpits to dab the sweat and avoid throwing off his scent to the Lioness.

The Morans moved closer to the Impala carcass and Teto cut off about a 3 kg equivalent of Impala meat as the Lioness observed less than 5 metres away from them. None of the Morans exhibited fear, they continued to make the guttural sound as they zigzagged away. The Lioness stared and slowly inched back to the Impala carcass and continued eating. The Maasai Moran and the wild have always been part of a single ecosystem, living side by side and sharing the kill even with the King of the wild.

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