Friday, April 29, 2011

Time to kill...an exciting early morning game drive from RiverBend Lodge

 During my recent trip to RiverBend Lodge we started off our morning drive with the sighting of this rather impressive Cape Buffalo!


But this was just the beginning and the drive was going to get a LOT more interesting...



The Lodge has traversing rights into the adjacent Addo Elephant Park and it was here, on our early morning game drive that we came across this clan of Hyena that had just(within the previous hour) killed this Kudu!

Once again, as luck would have it,I missed the kill but I was lucky enough to spend time with this clan and the Black Back Jackals that were scavenging off the kill.


The Hyenas seemed to be very relaxed and they tolerated the intrusion of jackals without too much stress.

There were certainly moments when the Hyenas decided that it would be right and proper to chase of the smaller “thieves", but given the amount of food available it seemed to be a token chase rather that anything with deadly intent.


Often people belive that Hyenas only scavenge of the carcasses that other predators have killed. In actual fact, as this kill demonstrated, they are capable of bringing down sizable game on their own(they tend to stick to prey species that have an average weight of about 102kgs) Though the species' prehistoric range included Eurasia extending from Atlantic Europe to China, it now only occurs in all of Africa south of the Sahara save for the Congo Basin.
They live in a matriarchal society where the pups of the dominant female will have superiority over pups that might be older than them.Often lions will kill the dominant female and her pups if they feel that a clan is infringing on their territory!  They are highly intelligent among the carnivora, with studies indicating that their social intelligence is on par with some primate species

The spotted hyena features prominently in African mythology and folklore, where its portrayal varies from being a bringer of light, to a symbol of immorality and depravity.

Also known as the laughing Hyena...because of their very distinctive call...this particular clan had the last laugh at this kill which they did not have to share with any other large predators!


We eventually left them as, like with humans, their full tummies dictated that a nap would be a good idea...





It was the beginning of an awesome drive that included Secretary birds,Elephant and lions (even if the latter were at the far range of my 50-500mm lens)


I wonder if this tourist was aware that there were predators in the reserve!

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