Top 10 animal stories of 2012

2012-12-06 15:10

Whether they bring a happy distraction, communicate a poignant reminder of our responsibility to conserve or show an awe-inspiring display of stealth or might, animal stories have a way of capturing our imagination.

In 2012, a wide array of animal-related stories made their way onto our site, so we look back at the 10 our readers loved most. 

Elephant v car

(Vasti Fourie)

When an angry elephant bull charged and overturned a vehicle in the Kruger park earlier this year, Vasti Fourie managed to capture some of the drama on camera. According to Lerato Mathole, acting Communications Officer for Kruger National Park, they were not sure what triggered the elephant charge, but that they suspect it may have something to do with a previous injury. Rangers later found blood on the car of the British couple who were involved in the attack and thought the elephant might have had a tooth abscess.

Needless to say, the tourists were so traumatized by the charge that they refused to leave their rest camp unescorted the next day. 

Kruger Impala killer


In another unfortunate road incident in the Kruger National Park, a driver ‘accidentally' mowed down and killed seven Impala. SANParks originally fined Kgokole Mmakole Trading & Projects CC, the contractor to whom the vehicle belonged, a meager R2500, but after a public outcry pushed it up to R21 000 as well as a ban of five years. 

Anaconda regurgitating ‘cow'


Probably one of the grossest things you will ever see, this shock footage shows a giant snake regurgitating an entire animal in the Brazilian jungle. Initially posted on the Daily Mail webiste and thought to be a cow, readers suggested the creature eaten by the snake was in fact a capybara - a giant rodent related to a guinea pig, weighing up to 66kg and native to South America.

Python in engine

(Marlene and Leon Swart)

Imagine driving in the Kruger Park, heading to a lion sighting you heard about from fellow game viewers, only to be held up by a python... and not one lazing in the road, rather curling up in your engine.

This is exactly what happened to Marlene and Leon Swart on a game viewing drive in the park earlier this year. According to Wild Card blog they watched as the massive reptile sailed underneath their vehicle, but when it didn't pop out on the other side soon after suspected something wasn't quite right. The driver of a safari vehicle close by confirmed their fears when he told them that the snake had disappeared into the innards of their vehicle. Since they couldn't hop out of the car then and there to remove the intruder, they instead drove to a lookout point about 5km away and finally managed to coax the creature out.

Orcas in False Bay 

(Dave Hurwitz)

While Southern Rights may be quite a common site in False Bay, spotting an Orca is quite special. So, when Simon's Town Boat Company uploaded thrilling pictures of these majestic creatures from the deep on a hunting spree in our own backyard on Facebook, we wanted to share the magic with our readers. 

Unexpected leopard kill (8,800) 


Some lucky game viewers managed to capture the perfect process of a leopard stalking, attacking and killing an Impala in the Kruger Park. MiPix, who posted the video on YouTube stated: "We nearly missed this leopard on our early morning game drive. We were watching her for about half an hour when something spooked the herd of Impala on the opposite side of the road."

Baby elephant rescue


When an eight-month-old elephant calf managed to get stuck in a well in the Amboseli Nature Reserve in Kenya, a team of Amboseli Trust researchers who are based in the reserve to study elephants executed an amazing rescue. All the drama was caught on camera and captured hearts and imaginations around the world. 

Lioness befriends baby buck


The understanding between predator and prey is rather simple and basically comes down to survival of the fittest. 

However, Dutch photographer Adri De Visser managed to captured an extremely rare moment of tenderness between a lioness and a baby Ugandan Kob... shortly after said lioness had killed the baby's mother.

The incident happened in Uganda's Queen Elizabeth National Park and saw the feisty feline getting a closer look, then patting the tiny tot and finally picking it up by the scruff of its neck as she would her cub. The photographs made news headlines around the world. 

Top 10 new species for 2012

While we may feel like the world is growing ever smaller and less ideal for any form of natural life to thrive, it's encouraging and exciting to see that wonderful new species are being discovered on a yearly basis. 

When the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University announced their picks for the top 10 new species discovered in 2011, the list included a sneezing monkey found in Myanmar, a mushroom named Spongebob Square pants and a beautiful, iridescent hairy blue tarantula.

Harry the pygmy hippo

(Cango Wildlife Ranch)

When the Cango Wildlife Ranch just outside Outdshoorn announced the birth of an adorable 5,1kg Pygmy hippo earlier this year, the world practically swooned from all the cute. When his mother, Hilda, refused to feed her little tot, ranch staff took matters into their own hands, giving him a 125ml mixture of milk and water every three hours and promptly named him Harry (after the prince, yes).

Read more on:    animals  |  travel south africa

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