sabi sabi ranger stories

eternal enemies

22 April 2008, a cool and misty early autumn morning was about to turn into the most unbelievable experience for both guests and rangers. Predator tension and competition between different species are something you tell guests about and occasionally observe yourself, but what was about to take place was something amazing...

Four Lionesses that make up a part of the dominant Lion pride in the area were seen in the vicinity of Selati Lodge. With the expertise of the trackers they were located shortly after the start of safari where they were lying in the early morning sun grooming themselves and soaking up the first rays of the morning sun.

While observing these majestic animals a call came over the radio informing us that a pack of African Wild Dog has brought down a female Kudu close to where we were. I turned around to explain to my guests what was said on the radio, before I could manage to say a single word all four Lionesses shot up and started sniffing the wind and listening. Clearly the news has reached them as well, and through a very acute sense of hearing and smell they were very much aware of everything that was happening.

They immediately became mobile and started running in the direction of where the action was taking place.

Meanwhile three Hyenas also overheard the commotion and arrived at the kill. They got into a one-on-one with the four African Wild Dogs, and being stronger and more aggressive managed to take over ownership of the half eaten female Kudu. The Hyenas were so busy gorging themselves on their latest conquest that they were completely oblivious to the four apex predators approaching at a rapid pace.

What was about to happen was unbelievable and a once in a lifetime sighting. The first Lioness dashed in and went for the carcass. With brute force and unbelievable power she swatted one Hyena off the carcass. She grabbed the left over meat and hastily moved into some thicker vegetation. The Hyena saw what was coming and took the opportunity to make himself scarce. His two friends were not that lucky and before they could realise what was happening the remaining three Lionesses attacked them.

The second Lioness grabbed one Hyena by the scruff of the neck and started shaking it about as if it was a rag doll. She dropped it to the ground and immediately went for the jugular vein. She kept the Hyena pinned to the ground with one paw while slowly squeezing the life from it. The other Hyena saw what was happening and tried to flee but was not quick enough. The third Lioness got hold of her and latched onto her back driving her canines into the spine of the Hyena. This was accompanied by a blooding-curdling howl and the Hyena, unlike her companion, tried to defend herself by snapping at the Lioness. The Lioness retaliated and had another go at the Hyena – this time with more force and direction. Blood and fur were flying all over the place and once again the powerful cat emerged the victor.

The fourth Lioness decided that the left over carcass was a much better option and went over to join the first Lioness. A little growling, hissing and spiting followed but the fourth Lioness managed to get a piece of meat and made herself scarce.

The other two Lionesses were so involved in the fight that they missed out on the free meal and ended up licking scraps from the ground.

After all was over and done, the King of the Beasts got up stretched and walked off, all that was left behind were two dead Hyenas and absolute silence...

Earth Lodge Ranger

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