|A troop of baboons|
While grinding my way up the first hill this morning, I was baled up by a dog who snarled and barked at me for a while but eventually backed off. There was no sign of an owner, though I suspect they would have heard me yelling at the dog. I'm of the view that I should be able to run around the suburban streets without having to deal with domestic animal threats and I've written a post before about Canine Challenges. Of course, when you run in the domain of the animals, you accept the risk of, and responsibility for, dangerous encounters.
|The Zambezi River above Victoria Falls|
I briefly considered turning back, but decided that, living in the area, they were probably comfortable with humans, so continued on. They stopped their foraging to watch my approach, and I began to regret my decision to proceed, reinforced when some of the adults began snarling at me. Bluff seemed to be the best option, so I choose a route through the troop that didn't go too close to any individual baboon and ran through, ready to start snarling and lashing out myself if necessary. They continued snarling, but didn't make any moves towards (or away) from me. I kept running, held my breath, and soon they were behind me and foraging again.
|A lion in Hwange National Park|
Earlier during the same trip, we stayed in a small compound in the Hwange National Park, protected from the wildlife by a high surrounding fence. It was not safe to run in the Park outside of the compound because of dangerous wildlife, and particularly the lions which had been sighted nearby. One day, Keith and I were keen to go for a run, so drove from the compound to the Park entrance and ran a somewhat boring out-and-back 10 miles along a road bordering the Park. Keith pointed out that there was no fence around the outside of the Park and therefore absolutely nothing to stop the wildlife from venturing on to the road where we were running. In fact, we had seen some wild elephants nearby. As Keith said, if a lion spotted us, one of us was dead (and he was fitter and faster than me at the time). Nothing happened.