Wednesday, 21 September 2016 14:17

Kruger Lion Kill video on our SA tour

We were driving through Kruger National park in South Africa, towards Satara restcamp, on a wildlife tour that I arranged for Trek Eco Adventures when we were stopped by a police officer. He tipped us off about a buffalo that had been killed by lions. Sure enough we went straight there, only to find the carcass being guarded by a very sick looking lion with TB and a lone white-backed vulture. All a bit weird, and we were running out of daylight so we headed back to Satara, but luckily we had a night drive booked with the rangers. Our group was 22 or so, so we had pretty much booked the whole safari truck. Pure luck!
Anyway as night time fell it became instantly apparent that we were in for a real treat, as all we could hear was the cacophony of sounds created by Hyenas descending from all angles upon the kill. They were right up against our campsite fences, in point blank range so that we could fully admire their formidable frame. One crazy old lady from the campsite put her hand towards the fence to try and stroke one, sure enough it snarled right at her! I am not quite sure she fully valued her own digits!
Anyway, we jumped into the truck and drove straight to the carcass, and this is where the video starts! WOW just listen to what we heard and saw! Absolutely astonishing! From what we could gather, there were 4 young and probably nomadic males capitalising on a kill that was being poorly safeguarded by a male lion with TB and a female lion. The four were feasting away and intermittently shouting at the TB lion every time he tried for a scrap. We were fully surrounded by jackal and hyena in every direction, revealed only by their sounds and eye shine from our torches. Then all of a sudden the mood changed, hyenas scarpered and jackals went quite. Then out of the bush two huge mature male lions came roaring towards the kill, which we think was killed by them. The younger males knew their place and instantly ran for cover. There is also a chance that these youngsters were the previous years offspring (or relations at least) and had been ousted from the pride. Intent on chasing the youngsters away, the big males left the carcass unattended, so the TB male finally got his chance to feed. It was short-lived as within a few minutes they were back, and seriously offended by the TB male, quickly setting upon in him 2 against 1, savaging his skinny, illness-ravaged body. It was pretty gruesome and we caught it all on film! Good camera work Richard Hagan and Danny Taberham!
The two big males were seriously pumped up with Adrenalin now and chased everything that moved including hyena, jackal and even the female lion. This opened up the doors for a huge clan of hyena who moved in lightening quick to dismember whatever was left of the buffalo. Their muscular bodies supremely evolved for this exact purpose, to rip off as much meat as possible using their strong jaws and upper body strength, in as short a time as possible, before the competition arrives. You have got to love them! We heard bones snapping, fur ripping and the carcass was reduced to noting within minutes. It was fascinating!
Then to top it all off, a black rhino warily charged through through the scene on its rounds!
Amazing stuff that I doubt I will ever top for many years to come! And the best bit was that we had a morning walk with the rangers booked for the morning, and sure enough we tracked the two big males down. But that is a different story!

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