Yesterday afternoon, while sitting watching the Mahlathini male lions resting near a buffalo bull that they had killed last night, I got a call telling me that there were two leopards busy feeding on the dead lioness! I didn’t need to think twice and raced over to see this unique sight. By the time I arrived, one of the young males (it appears that it was the two young male leopards of Argyle Jnr’s) had moved off, but his brother was still sitting feeding on the lion! It was quite a sight, and not something one sees every day. Most predators don’t eat one another; they stop at killing each other, not for food, but as a means of eliminating competition. However, there are always exceptions to this, and these leopards clearly didn’t want to pass up on a free meal. After maybe 10 minutes or so, the second young male decided that he too had eaten his share and slipped off into the darkness, not returning to feed again. I quickly went back to camp, and while waiting close to the staff houses, the staff spotted a leopard cross the path back to the staff village not 20m away. We didn’t manage to find the leopard after that, although we did see a large porcupine near the staff village!
I returned to the lioness’s carcass, and the hyenas had picked up on the smell of her rotting flesh, and couldn’t resist. At first it was just a lone hyena, then she was joined by a second clan member. An hour and a half later, there were as many as six hyenas taking turns to feed, with the usual little skirmishes between clan mates occurring as the larger, more dominant females stamped their authority on their subordinates.
And that was the last we got to see of our wonderful lioness, once again becoming part of natures wonder, but sometimes cruel, cycle of life. The rest of the pride had been reported on Ingwelala, adjoining Motswari, and all six of the remaining members were around, although still decidedly edgy. Hopefully they were on their way back to the cubs to the west, as I don’t think the mother has visited them for almost three days.
I will give you all an update when I return from leave next week.