Vultures diving in the distance alerted us to the potential presence of a carcass. Excitement rushed over us at the thought of a nearby predator so we hurried over for closer inspection.
As we arrived on the scene there were over thirty vultures feeding on the remains of a male impala. The cause of death was likely another male impala, as the rutting season is now in full swing and equally matched males can inflict fatal injuries. The vultures were descending from everywhere as the opportunity of a free meal rang out across the bushveld. Two spotted hyenas appeared and ran straight towards the site of action. They wasted no time in chasing the vultures away and immediately tried to drag what was left of the carcass away. In the back of my mind I knew that a swooping vulture not only appeals to hyenas but also to the apex predator…
[slickr-flickr tag = “chainreaction”]
Earlier in the morning we had found a crippled lioness and her sub-adult male accomplice nearby, and I knew they would notice the commotion. My thoughts hardly had time to set when the intrepid male lion appeared on the horizon. Without hesitation he ran straight at the two hyenas, intent on making a get-away with the carcass. Wisely the hyenas decided to retreat as this lion was in no mood for fooling around. He meant business and without delay laid claim to his prize. Following close behind was the crippled lioness, his comrade and significant other for the past few years. Regardless of her obvious discomfort, when on the move she is big and muscular with relentless willpower. Their opportunistic nature and ability to adapt to their current situation have ensured their survival. As soon as she arrived at the carcass he immediately asserted his dominance and the lioness backed off. Sadly things have not changed much and a male lion will always have that instinctive greedy, selfish nature. This pair are an inspirational story of success – unwavering in their fight for survival, without the help of additional pride members.
This was an incredible sighting and it goes to show how unpredictable nature can be – another unforgettable day in beautiful Africa.