Airstrip Male vs Warthog cue Hyena

Text and photographs: Dean Wraith

One thing MalaMala teaches you as a guide when it comes to looking for wildlife, is to pay attention to what all the animals are telling you. Monkeys chattering, impala snorting and kudu barking are all good signals that something is going on in the bush.

Giraffe are not barkers or snorters, but they stare at anything that concerns them. When we saw two giraffe staring into the bush we knew something was up. We drove into the bush line slowly and carefully, we could see some impala standing in some shade. We sat for some time watching and hoping that a leopard would come bursting out of the bush and the impala would become lunch.

Eventually the sun chased us into the shade and the impala walked off quite content that they were not on the menu for the day. Sitting in the shade we decided to wait around a little longer for any sign of our elusive cat as the giraffe were still staring in the same spot.

Just as we were about to leave, chaos broke out 30 metres from us and three young warthog came tearing past the car. We then heard the distinct sound of a warthog in some serious trouble. We moved the vehicle forward and there the action was, the Airstrip male had caught a rather large female warthog and the fight was on. Initially the warthog held its feet with the leopard hanging off, key for the leopard at this point was to flip the warthog over onto its back.

Airstrip male and warthog

The Airstrip male being a smaller male leopard but tenacious, managed to do just that and flip the warthog onto its back and that was all she wrote. Well so we thought.

Airstrip male and warthog

As the warthog slowly but surely was fading, a hyena started to approach the scene. Once the hyena realised that it was a leopard, it stormed in and the Airstrip male was off to into the bush. The hyena had scored a full meal but not before the warthog had one last burst of defiance and had a go at the hyena.

Sadly the damage had been done by the leopard and the hyena preceded to start eating.

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