By Mogomotsi Radinonyane, Professional Safari Guide at Tuli Safari Lodge
It didn’t take long for our resident spotted hyenas to pick up the scent of a fresh blue wildebeest carcass, which was killed by a male lion just a stone’s throw from the hyena den in the early hours of this morning.
I started my game drive at half five as usual, with two guests who were keen to see spotted hyenas. I drove to the hyena den that is situated within Tuli Safari Lodge’s property not far from the lodge. When I arrived at the den, I only saw tracks, I looked around but there was no sign of the hyenas. I explained to my guests about the nocturnal scavenging behaviour of spotted hyenas.
I then proceeded with my game drive, only to notice white backed vultures perching patiently on top of nearby trees … I drove closer and just a few metres ahead I saw a blue wildebeest carcass surrounded by a group of spotted hyenas. I drove next to them; they were not bothered by the presence of the safari vehicle as they were busy crushing bones with their powerful jaws.
I then looked around to really check what could have killed that big male blue wildebeest, as I knew that our resident hyenas don’t tend to kill for themselves but rather scavenge most of the time. I then saw lion tracks as the soil was wet from last night’s rain. From the look of things, that group of hyenas had pushed a lion from its kill. Survival of the fittest in action!