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Lions trap hyena inside a dead elephant

Written by: Stratton Hatfield

The African Impact Masai Mara Cat and Wildlife Research Volunteer Project recently had an incredible encounter in the Mara Naboisho Conservancy. An old bull elephant died from natural causes and numerous scavengers were attracted to the carcass. Along with the usual hyenas and vultures there were seven sub-adult male lions.

© Stratton Hatfield

© Stratton Hatfield

While watching these feasting cats the volunteers from the project noticed that a hyena was trapped inside the belly of the dead elephant. What was most amusing about the situation was that the lions were absolutely oblivious to the hyena’s presence.

© Britt Klaassen

© Britt Klaassen

© Britt Klaassen

© Britt Klaassen

It was a fascinating sight to watch this terrified hyena cower underneath a feeding lion.

© Stratton Hatfield

© Stratton Hatfield

Eventually the lions left the carcass for a moment at which point the hyena attempted an escape. As the hyena began to slink out one of the lions saw it.

© Claudia Haeberling

© Claudia Haeberling

It was an intense moment as the hyena jumped out of the carcass sprinting for cover with the lion in hot pursuit.

© Stratton Hatfield

© Stratton Hatfield

© Stratton Hatfield

© Stratton Hatfield

Fortunately for the hyena, a gorged male lion is not the quickest of animals and he escaped successfully.

The Mara Naboisho Conservancy is a 50 000 acre community pastoralist and wildlife conservation area. The conservancy borders the world famous Maasai Mara National Reserve. Naboisho means “coming together” in the Maasai’s Maa language. The conservancy is supported entirely from the safari camps that are located within the conservancies’ boundaries. African Impact runs and manages a wildlife conservation volunteer program within the conservancy.

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  • Mike D

    That was one very lucky hyena. Incredible sighting !

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