Written by: Anja Riise
Recently our guests at Jaci’s Lodges had one of the best sightings ever in Madikwe Game Reserve! We were out with Declan, our guide and we went in search of the wild dogs we’d heard had taken down a waterbuck on the western side of one of the dams.
Wild dogs rip their prey apart in seconds, killing them swiftly. Many say that this brutal way of doing away with their prey is mean, but I think I’d prefer it to the slower suffocating death that the big cats offer. Also feeding is a quick business and on approach we could see that most of their kill had been promptly gulped down and what now remained was literally skin and bones. The only ones still interested in the scraps were the youngsters; last year’s pups.
Some of the dogs showed a keen interest in the two waterbucks that wearily watched them from the middle of the dam. One of the waterbucks was brave enough to try to make it into the bush but the dogs were there in a heartbeat, so the buck ran for safety into the water again… and this time, she stayed put.
After a while one of the older dogs made off with a big bone and only two of the younger members of the pack could be bothered with the skin.
But this is when a brown hyena seized the opportunity and came sneaking in. Brown hyenas are usually very shy and I’ve never seen one in broad daylight before!
On the third attempt the hyena figured out that it worked best to come storming towards the desired treasure, rather than trying to use stealth.
The explosion of activity was amazing and it was absolutely fascinating to watch the pack defend their prize, even though barely anything remained… and I guess this was the reason they finally did give up and let the scavenger get his way.
This is definitely the best brown hyena, wild dog interaction I have witnessed; total magic! So happy we were to be at the right place at the right time.