We were fortunate to witness Pula moving her two tiny cubs late last Thursday afternoon. It was the first time she had moved them when they were on all fours and not being carried. Their inquisitive nature was very evident but their instinct to keep following mom's wide strides overruled the temptation to smell and explore.
They had to cross an open area where they startled a large male warthog. Pula was ahead with one cub whilst the second lagged behind, somewhat timid and reluctant to leave their original den. There was a moment where the warthog was clearly weighing up its options, circling at a distance before realizing Pula was actually there. Still, the warthog started at the cub who luckily lay flat and gave a call to Pula. Instantly she turned and came back to the cub’s aid. The warthog was large enough to give her a full charge but the sheer determination she showed was enough to halt him in his tracks. A kick of dust and he took off!
The drama did not end there as she then led them through a thicket, squirrels and spurfowl giving away their every move. What she didn’t know was on the other side of the thicket at the edge of the floodplain lay a pack of six wild dogs, resting in the late afternoon sun! By some miracle she took a sharp turn without seeing the dogs and headed further south, some 100 metres away. The dogs would get up and look in the direction of the cacophony that had now been joined by vervet monkeys. only to lie down again and relax.
In the end she managed to find a safe sausage tree for her little family to climb into and spend the night.
Watch Graham's video of the second cub as it falls behind and calls for mom here.