IN THE GRIP OF A DROUGHT

The most severe drought in over thirty years has bitten hard in the Kruger National Park, where the lack of grass is striking – even though this is the end of winter. I have already illustrated this with the contrasting images of Transport Dam from April last year to September this year. Another stark contrast is evident when crossing the N’wanestsi River. In April last year we were confronted by this magnificent scene:

N'wanetsi2015

Now it looks like this:

N'wanetsi2016

That many animals have succumbed to the drought or have been culled has been widely reported in the press. Along some of the roads one can occasionally be overwhelmed by the stench of rotting flesh and elsewhere bones are clearly visible.

bones

bones

bones

As the drought continues, sufficient nutritious food must be increasingly difficult to find. At some places one is left wondering what the animals are finding to ward off hunger.

barren veld

Browsers are, perhaps, more fortunate.

browsers

We happened upon a leopard gnawing at a long-dead carcass of a blue wildebeest.

leopard

Another leopard had clearly had an altercation with a porcupine.

Note the porcupine quill below the eye

Note the porcupine quill below the eye

At the N’wanetsi viewpoint we looked down on crocodiles eating a dead hippo.

crocodilesandhippo

Bear in mind that dead animals provide food for others.

vulture

lion

Pundits predict that rains are not expected until November. As bleak as the immediate future might seem to be, the hardy species survive. Even the most battered of trees know it is spring and are sprouting tender leaves.

springleaves

Even though these will be nibbled at by anything from a kudu to a Grey Lourie.

Grey Lourie

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3 thoughts on “IN THE GRIP OF A DROUGHT

    • And yet, oddly enough, Nature has a great sense of recovery – as if there has been a big clean out: once the good rains begin to fall seeds sprout so that the ground becomes covered with vegetation once more and the trees are leafy again. Rivers run and the animals and birds that have survived continue their cycle of living.

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