It is that time of year again. The leaves on the Wild Syringa trees are turning a golden colour, the sun is not even properly up by 6.30am, and there is a definite chill in the mornings; Autumn.
This is also the time when many of our game species mate. These two wildebeest bulls gave our guests a once-in-a-lifetime experience when they had an all-out brawl for the control of a very good territory near Elephant Lodge on Kaingo Private Game Reserve.
The first photo shows the two contestants glaring at each other. The hair on their backs are erected to make them look a bit larger than what they are. This is complemented by pawing the ground, and snorting at each other. The dust coming up from their scraping gives a sense of anticipation to the battle ahead.
The two bulls lock horns. The thick necks strains to roll the head of the opponent sideways and into submission. The bulls collapse onto their knees to get more power onto the base of the horns. Strained muscles in the back legs reinforces the sense of power these beasts exert on each other.
We temporarily loose visual as both the bulls are enveloped in a cloud of dust. Only the sound of clashing horns behind the curtain of dust tells us that the fight is not over.
The dust slowly settles to the ground. Both bulls stand up; a victor crowned. The victorious bull chases the loser for a small distance, but then gives up and allows him to go and heal his wounded pride.
For this season the victor has defended his territory. The females will come for a visit, and he will have his pick of the bunch. The loser, probably fighting for another, less suitable territory, will have to be satisfied with second best.
Next year the same fight will ensue, if both bulls survive the winter. Then, another outcome may be on the cards!
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