Continued.. Scanning the plains we noticed in the far distance the small spec of a herd of wildebeest, slowly making their way in an endless search of fresh grazing. We slowly tagged behind and to the west of the wild dog, keeping pace and allowing some distance between us. After some time several of the dog then pulled back from the pack and stepped in behind our land rover. There was no natural cover for them to hide behind so they were probably using us for cover as they got nearer to the wildebeest. a few moved around and froward coming alongside our blind side, padding along with us, seemingly in step.
Suddenly and some way off, two of the main pack broke away and raced towards the herd causing them to flee in panic. The rest of the pack quickly joined the leaders and proceeded to cause mayhem within the herd, driving them in all directions as they selected and singled out their targets. One wildebeest veered off and ran in our direction and was soon pursued by a couple of dogs.
We had been stationery whilst the dogs had disrupted the herd and as the lone wildebeest headed towards us we stayed put, away from the main action. One of the dogs caught the wildebeest by the throat and brought it to a halt a short distance from us. It was soon joined by another dog who took a firm hold of the wildebeests muzzle. The three twisted and turned as the wildebeest struggled to pull free. As it pulled in desperation it backed straight in to our vehicle, against the drivers door. A third dog arrived and proceeded to rip at the wildebeests underparts.
The gruesome process unfolded against us. A decision had to be made, should we go or stay, either way would have consequences. We pulled away and left nature to take it’s course.
Meanwhile the rest of the pack had brought down another two wildebeest and were devouring them. The rest of the herd were scattered across the plain, pausing to look back at their ‘team mates’ before turning and continuing their journey.
As we were quite a way off from the hunt I had been using a Nikon 80 - 200mm lens, but as the events developed I was soon down to the lowest range and desperately needed a wide, but didn’t risk switching lenses as I would have lost the moment, as it was all happening so fast. This series of images was taken on Kodachrome 64, which in it’s day was rated the best as it gave a real sense of the subject with the reality of the true colours, but now portrays an grainy archival feel to the images, which I find rather refreshing and different from the crisp, punchy digital images of today. It’s interesting how our perspective changes with the advancement of technology.
In the vastness of the Serengeti such a sighting was indeed a great privilege, especially to have witnessed the hunt and to have observed the pack at the den site with the young pups was very fortuitous and a memory worth retrieving from the archives of my mind.