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Your wildlife experience in South Africa

United States Polar Offline
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#1
Thumbs Up  ( This post was last modified: 10-29-2017, 04:56 PM by Ngala )

Back in 2013, I've traveled down to South Africa to visit my mother's relatives for the summer vacation. Within my stay there, I went to the Rhino and Lion Game Park as well as a private owner's sanctuary. 

I was only 15 at the time, but that trip was definitely the event that got my interest in non-arctic creatures and thus, both the WildFact and Carnivora forums.

I will provide a few pictures of my visit to these two parks:
"Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people."

- Roy T. Bennett
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United States Polar Offline
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( This post was last modified: 08-15-2016, 04:46 AM by Polar )

RHINO

Very close to this massive hulk of a white rhino (~ 30 feet) from the savanna truck that my guide traveled us on. Looks completely full-grown, and was intently staring at the guide. Here is the beast (Rhino & Lion Game Park):

   

A little down the guide-track, we encountered this:

   

An adult rhino (gender unknown to me) with his/her juvenile offspring. One of the most pristine sights in the park: they were feeding on some grasses that were growing nearby. Right before that photo, the juvenile gave us a quick glance as if to state, "We are busy at the moment!"

An hour later, we visited the private owner's sanctuary, and saw this rhino:

   

It was unusually quite reddish in its hide color and didn't appear fully-grown, although, IMO, it is a white rhinoceros due to its massive shoulder hump.

Overall, the rhinos (together with the Bengal Tiger) were the favorites of my visitation to South Africa.
"Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people."

- Roy T. Bennett
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United States Polar Offline
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TIGER

The tiger was a pure Bengal specimen. I don't know about its exact size (didn't ask the owner how much it weighed), but I'd say around 450-pounds (average tiger's weight).

Those eyes.... Very bone-chilling and suspenseful to have those bright orange eyes of a famed predator, quite a thrill of an experience!

   

Right after this picture, it suddenly jumped back farther into its enclosure and roared, not maximally loud, yet enough so that a passersby could hear it from almost a mile away. It then circled around, and went near us, resulting in this picture:

   

A few minutes of marking its "territory" (or what little of it the cat has), it went down to prone position for relaxation. A few chuffs here and there, and we walked to the white tiger's enclosure...

   

   
"Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people."

- Roy T. Bennett
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United States Polar Offline
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( This post was last modified: 08-15-2016, 08:54 AM by Polar )

WHITE TIGER

The owner of the sanctuary took responsibility of this tiger about 7 years before the following picture, as a cub. 

He stated that the tiger's previous owner abused the tiger, as shown by the tiger's various "blind spots" of fur loss, broken teeth, and blood-abscessed hindlegs as a cub. Apparently, the original owner had struck it hard with a thin metal pole various times to "discipline" it, which resulted in its injuries. Original caretaker was an extremely poor excuse of a human...

As expected, during the duration of me taking the following picture, the white tiger growled at me ferociously. At one point, he charged at me within an instant.

Luckily, he was enclosed within a metal-chain fence.

After his rough bout, he turned so his side was facing us, and I took this:

   
"Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people."

- Roy T. Bennett
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United States Polar Offline
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( This post was last modified: 08-15-2016, 05:05 AM by Polar )

CHEETAH

This particular photograph consists of a lone male cheetah, silently staring at us. This one was at the Rhino & Lion Game Park.

If any one of us walked out from the group, the cheetah would fix his gaze at him/her (or I) very, very intently. Sort of like a robot of sorts.

He is initially hard to see, but somewhere in the middle of the photo, you can see him gazing at my mother (not shown and apart from the group towards the left):

   
"Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people."

- Roy T. Bennett
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United States Polar Offline
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#6

Have any of you traveled to any major South African park of sanctuary?
"Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people."

- Roy T. Bennett
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Switzerland Spalea Offline
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(08-15-2016, 05:08 AM)Polar Wrote: Have any of you traveled to any major South African park of sanctuary?

No...

Happy to see your photos about this private South African parks, and impatient to look at the following ones !

That is rather a little bit disturbing vision for me to see a captive tiger in a private African park... That's fine if the owner is honest, but I don't know, when I see your photos of tigers, they seem to suffer from the heat and dust...  Certainly an illusion.

Your white rhinos photos are impressive !
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United States Polar Offline
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@Spalea,

Yes, I especially feel sorry for the white tiger. It was severely mistreated as a cub, but now it looks well-formed (quite older than the normal Bengal, though).

I saw plenty more creatures during my visit to these parks. Posts about your favorite big cat will come tomorrow.

Right now, I've got to get some sleep.
"Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people."

- Roy T. Bennett
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India sanjay Offline
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Wow..Nice experience Polar. Wish I could make a trip to Africa,
@Pckts is going soon.
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United States Polar Offline
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( This post was last modified: 08-16-2016, 04:20 AM by Polar )

LION

There is no Rhino & Lion Game Park without some lions, both white and normal. Though, the ones photographed here are all white lions and lionesses. Most were asleep.

   

   

One particular lioness was intently staring at our group as soon as we met the beginning of her encolsure.

   

Unlike like the enclosures in the private sanctuary, the enclosures within the Rhino & Lion Game Park extend for miles, and for each individual species as well. All enclosures are enclosed towards the center of the park, and are open towards the rest of natural South Africa, thus providing an open prey base for the carnivores.

After this series of pictures, I had my first chance to touch a white lioness. Her pelt was quite soft, but her skin under was durably sturdy, and only muscles existed underneath the protective organ. I didn't have the chance to take a picture of her; too busy petting her.

The guide and I noted her extreme size for a lioness, and he estimated her to be around 380-410 pounds (he said it in kilograms, I converted it into pounds). A very, very robust lioness as well.

The guide also noted a new pride beginning to form at that park, around four months before I arrived. The pride only had six females, eight cubs, and an abundance of thirteen males. I didn't have to tell him that this situation was odd; I saw the look on his face. Times are definitely changing for modern lions. A pride consisting of significantly more males than females is a complete oddity.


On to the lion and tiger cubs!
"Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people."

- Roy T. Bennett
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United States Polar Offline
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#11

CUBS

One of the most beautiful sights within my visit to the private sanctuary were both the lion and tiger cubs. Lion cubs were separated from the tiger cubs, of course.

For one, these cubs were fed freshly-killed flesh from giraffes, buffalos, and wildebeests. So they had a good amount of nutritional support from the owner. 

Two, the roudiness. As other young animals, the cubs were excited and rambunctious within their movements as soon as they caught sight of us with some buffalo meat on our hands. One of the lion cubs even clawed my mother's forearm by accident, resulting in me helping her stop the blood flow (not shown here, hopefully!)

Three, their strength. Even as young cubs of less than 80-pounds, their strength (especially tugging strength) was phenomenal. I was still strong back then, weighing in at 220-pounds. One of them became agitated at another one for taking too big of a chunk, one thing led to another, and....

...all of a sudden, I was being dragged on the rough, sandy ground. The agitated cub was dragging me with both of its forepaws. He only managed to drag me two meters (and quickly, too!) before he let go to dispute with his similar companion. Despite their claws (luckily wore jeans), they had proven to be quite strong as well.

Cuddling time:

   

Right before the agitation:

   

As for the tiger cubs, they were more reserved (still a bit hyper-active, though).

   
"Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people."

- Roy T. Bennett
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