Addo Buffalo Bull Flehmen
Flehmen is a German word, with no English equivalent, for the curling and wrinkling of the lips and nostrils which bring the Jacobsen's organ into play, often for testing chemical signals produced by sexually receptive females.
A few weeks ago when I visited the Park I witnessed a buffalo bull flehmen. I was the last vehicle in a convoy of cars traveling along slowly when up ahead I picked up what looked like the horn of a buffalo bull protruding from behind some bush. I had earlier noticed some fresh buffalo spoor next to the road. All the other cars kept moving and never stopped. When I arrived to where I saw the horn I stopped and waited for a while and then the buffalo made his full appearance from behind the bush into full view. It was a massive bull all on his own.
I got excited as I watched him sniffing the air and the vegetation and ground all around him. I felt that something exciting was about to unfold. I then watch him as he started to walk and continued sniffing the air and ground. I was able to follow him for a few hundred meters as he walked parallel to the road. He stopped suddenly at this one spot where he continued sniffing the ground and then started flehming. This must have been where a female buffalo had urinated and he was picking up her sexual condition in her urine. He then continued walking and paused briefly at the waterhole where he did some ground horning before continuing, this time with a real purpose and mission as he was going to find that female buffalo. I watched as he disappeared into the Addo bush and thinking how privileged I was to witness this.
The buffalo bull flehmen
Standing at the waterhole
Here is a short video (31 sec) of me following the buffalo bull and then him flehmen as he stops at the spot where the female had urinated. http://youtu.be/yk1TAYiKXFQ
Enjoy the experience