Written by: Anja Riise – Jaci’s Lodges’ guide
One of the larger lion prides in the eastern part of the Madikwe Game Reserve recently took down a wildebeest on the perimeter of the airstrip.
The carcass had not yet started to smell but by the time we stumbled upon it, it was already almost completely devoured. As we approached, a lioness and two cubs were still busy feeding while the others had taken to the shade (panting like crazy while digesting the meal). Two black-backed jackals were wearily assessing the situation from a safe distance, patiently waiting their turn.
At first I had been a bit worried that a sighting like this would be too much for the two younger guests in my vehicle to stomach. But as the lions ripped apart their prey only a few meters away, the younger guests delighted in the spectacle along with their parents.
As the morning progressed and the heat got more intense the female decided that she’d had enough of the sun. She carried what was left of the carcass under a bush and the two youngsters followed.
This was the chance that the jackals had been waiting for! They came rushing for the stomach and other “delicacies” that had been left behind by the lions. These intelligent little canines form pairs for life and often share food; regardless of this, they were quarrelling about the leftovers and chasing each other around.
A few of the younger lion pride members weren’t too impressed with this behaviour and decided to do something about the thieving pair. Jackals are however far too agile and alert to be taken by lions out in the open. The chase did trigger some playfulness in the lions though and for a while the youngsters were running around without a care in the world. A couple of hours later as the first flight of the day was making it’s descent onto the runway, both the carcass and the pride were long gone.