NAIROBI PARK DIARY

Rarely seen bushpig

Bushpig are seldom seen because of their predominantly nocturnal secretive habits

In Summary

• In many years, this was only my second sighting

Bushpig in the forest
Bushpig in the forest
Image: GARETH JONES

 

Often as I drive through the Langata forest, it is often rewarding to look in the area close to the main gate. However, sometimes when we least expect to see something special, it is when we are surprised.

I had just driven from the Langata gate very early one morning when, as I rounded a corner, three tiny little striped furry creatures ran across the road in front of me. Just as I was trying to register, a large bushpig crashed through the bushes, crossing the road in front of me and running after its newborn babies, no doubt trying to protect them from the unexpected visitor in the noisy, fuel-smelling metal machine.

The adults can be very aggressive, especially when they have young ones. I watched as the bushpig quickly herded the piglets to the safety of thick forest bush.

Wow! What a rare and awesome sighting. Just as I was about to drive away, another bushpig (possibly the boar) charged across the road the joined the rest of the family. I scolded myself for not having my camera ready to take photos of the piglets. However, I did manage to do a quick click of the sow before she disappeared into the bushes.

In many years, this was only my second sighting. I remember many years ago finding some bushpig feeding on the carcass of a young dead buffalo, as they do also eat meat occasionally.

Bushpig are seldom seen because of their predominantly nocturnal secretive habits. They frequent the thickly forested and riverine areas of the Nairobi National Park. The sub-species of bushpig found in Nairobi is Potamochoerus larvatus hassama. So, just remember to always be ready. Sometimes, action happens very near to the main gate. Drive in the early morning or late afternoon slowly through the trees; it will always be rewarding.