Klaserie River Sands

Opportunistic: Hyena steals cheetah kill

Brown hyena taking kill from cheetahs

© Derek Keats

Written, and photographs, by Derek Keats

It was one morning on a game drive when we came across five cheetahs feeding on a springbok kill in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa.

Cheetahs eating springbok kill in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa

© Derek Keats

We soon noticed a brown hyena wandering down towards the cheetahs and subsequently joined them as they fed. It chewed the springbok in half, grabbed the back half, and carried it off!

Brown hyena taking kill from cheetahs in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa

© Derek Keats

The cheetahs did nothing but look on with amazement.

Five cheetahs in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa

© Derek Keats

After it left, the jackals started to move in, but they were wary of the cheetahs, who continued to feed on the remaining springbok carcass.

Black-backed jackal and cheetah in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa

© Derek Keats

Then suddenly all five cheetahs were alert as the hyena started running back towards them at a brisk pace.

Brown hyena and cheetah in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa

© Derek Keats

It then grabbed the other half, and though it could barely lift it, it carried it off into the bushes.

Brown hyena running with springbok kill in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa

© Derek Keats

The cheetahs looked absolutely dejected. The jackals then took their chance to move in, cleaning up the intestines and other nasty bits.

Brown hyena with springbok kill and cheetah in foreground in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa

© Derek Keats

The cheetahs returned to whatever was left of their kill, ate what they could and wandered off. About two hours later I saw them at the waterhole nearby, and then two days after that spotted them hunting much further south down the Aub River – hopefully this time out of the opportunistic hyena’s reach.

Cheetah, hyena with springbok carcass in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa

© Derek Keats



Guest Blogger

In the Guest Blogger profile, you'll see fresh and exciting content from a range of contributors who have submitted their content to us on a once-off or temporary basis, including press releases, campaigns and exciting adventure and travel tales!

Africa Geographic