I wish I hadn’t witnessed this

16 August 2010

By Lazaro George - Guide, Greystoke Mahale

It was my first afternoon activity with guests since I got back to Mahale from my off-days. We set-off on a boat heading south of Greystoke camp. On a trip like this, we normally expect to see hippo in the water or on the shoreline; different species of fish in the lake and some other species at the river mouth to the lake. Several birds species can also been seen along the lake shores.

One of the fish species normally seen at the river mouthis Limnotilapia dardennei which exists in large schools. On that day we saw a few of them, and one of them, jumped into our boat. We all got amused seeing the babies fish coming out of their mothers mouth. It is a mouth-brooder, I shouted to the guests. All guests turned to my direction to see what it was, as most of them were concentrating looking at a long-tailed cormorant, which was perching on a branch.

The fish was badly injured, including some babies, which died on the spot. The impact of that mighty jump was big, and it wasnt surprising that some babies lay motionless with their mother. We had to pick up the adult fish and throw it back to the water, with some babies still in her mouth and alive, so that they could easily respire. Still within the vicinity of the event, we saw a big fish, Emperor Cichlid, charge in and eat the rest of the babies. We then figured out, the adult fish jumped so high and ended up getting into our boat, to escape and save her babies from the Emperor cichlid! At a point near death creatures do inconceivable things in order to save themselves.

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