January 27, 2016
A Quiet Drink
- as seen by -Jonathan C. Slaght
It’s late morning at Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa. Hours earlier, this watering hole was a teeming, muddy mess with dozens of raucous African elephants and the occasional Cape buffalo drinking and slopping about in the rejuvenating waters. These larger animals have now gone—moved on to other pursuits or perhaps resting in the shade—and a black-backed jackal emerges from the patchy thicket.
Black-backed jackals are small, nimble predators, and one of the most ancient canids. These unpicky eaters prey upon everything from grasshoppers to adult impala; a dietary elasticity that allows this species to range across broad swaths of southern and eastern Africa. Black-backed jackals have few natural predators and can even drive off the larger side-striped jackal where the two species overlap. However, they are susceptible to numerous diseases such as rabies and canine distemper.
Here at Addo, in the southern fringe of their range, the jackal dips its snout to the reflective waters for a quiet drink before returning to the anonymity of the thicket.
Editor’s Note: Check out our latest assignment, Cats and Dogs. Send us your best shots of wild cats and canids by January 31, 2016.
Canon Rebel XTI