Large cats, like leopards, cheetahs and lions, are among the world’s most popular animals, but people seem to hate the fact that they kill. In fact, preying on herbivores such as Thomson’s gazelles, wildebeest, Cape buffalo, zebra and warthogs, is how they make their living. Everyone has to eat to survive.
Predatory animals are truly innocent killers simply doing what they have evolved to do. The lifestyles of big cats fascinate us, not only because they are so similar to us in many ways, but also because of the primal fear we may retain from our more dangerous past. The thought of falling prey to a large carnivore is the stuff of which nightmares and horror movies are made. The threat of death by large carnivore was a constant reality for our distant ancestors who hunted and gathered on a landscape filled with numerous predators. However, witnessing the life and death drama of predators and prey is one of the great attractions of going on an African Safari. Seeing these powerful animals at work up close and personal is quite different from watching them on TV from the comfort of your easy chair. One exciting thing you’ll experience on an African Safari is an up close look at animals feeding in their natural habitat. How often do you get an up close and personal view of a lion devouring a zebra?
We cannot judge wild predators as we would ourselves. Nature is essentially amoral, and cheetahs, lions and leopards are innocent killers, evolved to make a living through killing. Nothing more, nothing less. They have a right to survive and, in fact, play an essential ecological role that we often call the “circle of life.”