Grief - Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa

When planning our trip to South Africa, we decided to fly into Johannesburg early and do a couple of day trips before our safari. Our first excursion took us to Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve. This turned out to be our first experience with predators and their prey in the Circle of Life.

It was late morning and the temperature was approaching scorching. The wildlife typically finds shade and might remain there for the afternoon. Our guide Peter spotted a female lion under a tree and we stopped to see if she would get up and wander. After waiting a few minutes, it was clear that she wasn't moving and he decided to head up the road before we headed to lunch. We spotted a dazzle of zebra with a baby that was one or two days old. It was really cool to see the little guy following and playing with his mother. As we followed the zebra, our guide realized that they were heading in the direction of the lion. He thought that if they continued on their path, the baby zebra would be at risk. Well, he called it exactly as it would happen. We watched in both horror and fascination. As the baby zebra went behind a bush our eyes and camera lenses turned toward the lion, waiting for her to pounce. That's when the action happened. Unbeknownst to us, there was a second lion that none of us saw and she attacked the baby zebra. The rest of the adult zebras took off in a gallop, but it was too late for the baby. I am sort of glad not to have seen it. As soon as it happened, the adult zebra stopped near our truck and looked toward where the lions were. That is when I snapped this photo. While I won't forget this, I think the most haunting memory will be the grief that the mother expressed when she realized what happened.