Roaring Lightning Pride
I stood in the windless desert terrain of the waning stormy sunset, listening to the rolling roar from the nearby pride of lions, ebbing and flowing in concert with the distant rolling thunder and lightning flashes. In my memories, like a flash of lightning, I am taken back to the primal feel of the Serengeti plains during late Summer, and the storms that constantly ran up and down the horizons in all directions into the evening dusk, similar to my territorial views in nearly all directions here in this rolling scrub terrain. The temperature dropping in the post-storm humid and windless air, crisp and thick, sets the stage for the evening roar concerto...beastly medleys, occasionally punctuated with the pitch of hyenas laughing...Wait, that's the sound of coyotes?!?!?
I snapped back to present moment, realizing that coyote yips and howls from another direction were joining the ambiance, and noticing I was absent-mindedly scanning the distant perimeter with my flashlight, watching for pairs of amber eyes reflecting back...those that would indicate predator...the moment was palpable to tent camping in Africa, yet I was in Arizona.
My tension quickly abated, once realizing my proximity to Out Of Africa Wildlife Park, about a mile or so away, located in the Verde Valley area on the edges of Camp Verde. While there are many reasons for lions to roar, the ambient conditions of dropping temps, high humidity, and windless air, according to studies in Zimbabwe, is one of the most common conditions day or night to get a pride or a single cat roaring. These atmospheric and weather conditions play a role in the acoustics of roaring. Cool, humid air allows sound to travel further than warm, dry air, while excessive wind “masks” the frequency bands that roars travel in. High winds create a lot of noise, so in choosing to avoid those periods they obviously recognize there’s not a lot of benefit in doing so...and having all that at post-sunset, well that is just a for sure thing for a lion's pride rolling roars. And with them and the distant rolling thunder, I also roared with lightning pride, upon capturing this moment.