Cyberdiary: The Airstrip male competes with hyenas over his “kill”

The Airstrip male plays tug-of-war with a hyena over a kill

The Airstrip male plays tug-of-war with a hyena over a kill

A few days ago we featured a post on the Kikilezi female that had yet again made an impala kill and was feeding on the carcass with her cub in the Mlowathi River. On the evening of the 18th, the Airstrip male caught wind of the carcass and moved in to steal the kill. The Kikilezi female did not make much effort to defend her meal, which would have been futile against the large male, although there was not much left of the baby impala carcass anyway.

After the Airstrip male finished the rewards of his piracy, we followed him into Rhino Pens where there were many impala. The leopard set his sights on a group of the antelope and proceeded to lay low. An unanticipated turn of events followed. A group of hyenas arrived on the scene, having also set their sights on the same group of impalas. It is unusual for hyenas to be able to hunt impala successfully, but at this time of year the abundance of impala lambs means that their chances of executing a kill are much higher.

The hyenas then began to clumsily chase the impala around. The Airstrip male was in luck. He was perfectly positioned for an ambush on some impala that were now being chased straight towards where he lay! The impala did not stand a chance, and the leopard was quick to choose his victim, breaking its neck on impact. The leopard now had to contend with three hungry hyenas that were right close by. What ensued an amazing sequence of tug-of-war between the animals! True to his spirited nature, the Airstrip male was not going to back down easily. At one stage the hyena and leopard both fed together! The hyenas did manage to steal the kill from him, but it was not long before he was able to reclaim it and was able to hoist it to safety in a tree nearby. It was good to see the Airstrip male looking in good condition after his scuffle with the Gowrie male a few days prior to this. The Kikilezi female and cub then arrived on the scene but it was clear that the male was not prepared to share his, now well-earned, meal.

Another amazing sighting was also had of the Princess Alice Pans male who showed good skill to kill a large African Rock Python of almost 1.5 meters in length! He dragged the python into a tree and began to feed. A hyena was in the area and was circling the base of the tree. The scavenger got more than it bargained for when the carcass of an impala lamb dropped out from the python’s belly! It was an incredibly unusual sighting, but unfortunately we didn’t manage to get any pictures of the event.

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