Skip to comments.The Oryx and the Lioness ........ (poem)
Posted on 01/08/2002 9:58:23 AM PST by Sabertooth
War clouds loom on many horizons, and yet unlikely stories from far, untraveled paths are sometimes so powerful they turn our heads from the rumbles of tombs and rumors of bombs. So it is, in these past few days, that many eyes across the world have turned to Kenya, to witness the inconceivable friendship grown between a young lioness and an baby antelope.
In a time when man is killing man for thoughts, defense, and vengeance where good and evil are contending on a vast scale, and though the outcome is certain, the struggle will be long and bloody How is it that since about Christmastime, a fearsome predator, might hearken to an echo of mercy and take up with its prey?
Scientists will seek to explain it to us. They have much knowledge and may very well answer the question, "how?" There will surely be truth in what they tell.
And yet and yet
The Oryx and the Lioness
Young oryx and her lioness arose
And stretched. Our distant ken then dimly yawned:
Her orphan had no dam... Yet, love? God knows.
We smiled that cat and kid had purred and fawned.
She hearkened to the antelope as hers,
A roar of Judah's past and future fleece.
Deep in the darkest countenance, what stirs?
What breath behooves ferocious hearts to peace?
Their paths now crossed, her oryx at her side,
The lioness approached the pond to drink.
But nature's other hungers crouch and hide;
In underbrush, a fateful pride may slink..
By other jaws, her oryx lamb was met
Isaiah's oracle is not quite yet.
Here are the links to the other threads on this...
BTW, the Daily Nation seems to be changing the source codes for the pics frequently. I've saved the jpegs, so we may have to rehost them again later,
Besides, this Sabertooth writing the poem, nu?
I'm with you, Miss Pie, but I didn't script this ending...
Details of what happened:
Tuesday, January 8, 2002
Lioness and a baby oryx: Mystery remains
By MUGUMO MUNENE
The spectacular friendship between a lioness and a baby oryx that has had all Kenya talking remains a puzzle for game workers and wildlife experts.
In a radical departure from its instincts, the lioness protected the little calf, which it would ordinarily have killed for a meal, escorting it around the Samburu wildlife reserve. Truck loads of tourists kept following the pair as they strolled around the foot of Koitogor Hills, near the Serena Samburu lodge.
Alongside game workers the tourists watched daily in disbelief as the lioness and the frail brown calf wandered the range side by side and lay down to rest together, with all the intimacy of a mother and her cub.
Had the lioness adopted the oryx as her own? What powerful drive overrode all her instincts to kill?
No scientific explanation has been offered yet for the strange friendship which lasted for an amazing 15 days before the law of the jungle reigned supreme and sadly an older lion from another pride killed the calf.
Death came suddenly when the odd couple strayed into the territory of another lion, which spotted easy prey.
The predator pounced as the lioness turned her back to drink from the Uaso Nyiro river, late on Sunday evening.
It was an unusual lapse of care on the lioness's part. For the time they were together, she had successfully warded off all dangers to the frail little calf, including threats from a pride of cheetahs, by walking watchfully behind it as it would with its own cubs.
A Nation team which had earlier followed the pair for two days saw the lioness lie down to rest in the hot afternoon sun and the oryx curl up casually beside her. At one point, the lioness went hunting but quickly returned to keep watch on the grazing calf.
The lioness is said to have taken over the calf after frightening off its mother at birth. The two animals appeared to be starving in the early days of their friendship but soon settled to their separate feeding routines. Tourists interviewed by the Nation after witnessing the episode were lost for words while others saw it to another wonder of the world. The two animals have sharply contrasting habits.
Lions are voracious carnivores and commonly prey on browsers like antelopes, water bucks and zebras. The oryx is a gentle herbivore which survives on grass and leaves and spends much of its time dodging predators such as big cats, mainly by its speed, although the adults are also adept at defending themselves with their long sword-like horns.
The lioness sleeps for up to 16 hours a day and is active for only eight, while the oryx spends 65 per cent of its time browsing. Lions rely largely on their sight while oryx survive by their sharp sense of smell, which deepened the mystery of how the two had been communicating in the wild. Samburu rangers had ruled out separating them, preferring to let nature take its course, but like everyone else, they crossed their fingers in the hope that the mysterious relationship would last.
The spectacle had attracted a growing stream of nature lovers, tourists and Samburu villagers.
Wildlife experts say that lions - moving in twos or threes - will normally mark out a territory by fighting off the weaker males. They will then subdue the females within the territory by killing all the cubs from previous mates and siring their own as the natural way of ensuring their own perpetuation.
Samburu Serena nature expert Vincent Kapeen said there was a high possibility that the killer lion, which the Nation team had spotted about two kilometres from the couple on Sunday morning, could have killed the calf while mistaking it for a rival's cub, but then realised that it was actually a meal.
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Thank you, Sabertooth, for writing such a noble tribute to this sad end of captivating relationship!
She appears to be a young lioness with some of her cub spots still in her fur. I wonder if this caused this different behavior!
Nice poem, my FRiend...MUD
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