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Lions vs. Hyenas, Mara North Conservancy June 2012

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Lions vs. Hyenas, Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  Safariman on Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:35 am

Returning to camp after a very enjoyable but fairly quiet morning game drive in the Mara North Conservancy we came across a lone lioness. She was part of the Offbeat Pride of 9 lions whose territory surrounds the Offbeat Safaris Mara Camp, where I was staying, hence the name. She settled down in the long grass almost hidden from view soon to be joined by her 2 adult daughters. They appeared to be on the lookout for food, taking a casual interest in a herd of topi and a large herd of buffalo. But as the sun was shining and mid-day was approaching, they did the usual lion thing of finding some shade and chilling out. Closer to camp we saw a small herd of eland, Africa's largest antelope, with one separated from the rest standing under a tree. On closer inspection , it seemed to be carrying an injured leg.
After lunch and a siesta, we started the afternoon drive under gathering storm clouds. True to form the heavens duly opened in typical Africa fashion which necessitated the hurried closure of the roof hatches and dropping of the plastic side windows. Game viewing was almost impossible and driving on the already saturated ground became hazardous. We decided to abandon the the drive and have 'sundowners'!! back at camp. Almost back home we suddenly spotted 3 lions apparently on a kill. Driving closer we saw that the fresh kill was an eland, probably the hapless, injured one we had seen earlier and the lions were the Offbeat girls settling down to an early dinner. Fortunately the rain had started to ease so I was able to take some photos although the light was not ideal and I was having to shoot at ISO 800 which meant not very good quality.
The scent of the kill soon attracted the first scavengers, hyenas.They kept their distance, unsure of the lions until one brave hyena tried to muscle in on the kill. The lions were having none of it and the two young females decided to teach the hyena a lesson and proceeded to beat it up!! Suitably chastised but not deterred a couple of minutes later the hyena returned but this time with reinforcements. We counted between 30-40, they appeared from everywhere. The lions were completely outnumbered and soon beat a hasty retreat but with full bellies. The hyenas engulfed what remained of the carcass in a feeding frenzy, ripping it apart and fighting over every last scrap. In less than 5 minutes, all that was left of the eland was a pair of horns and a small amount of skull. And when we checked the following morning even that had gone leaving no trace of what had happened. The kill was probably only about 10 minutes old when we first saw it and we stayed for 65 minutes. So within about 75 minutes an adult eland had been totally consumed; this was definitely re-cycling Masai Mara style!!
As the light was getting too dark for my main camera and wanting to try and have a record of what was happening I tried an experiment with my little pocket camera which I always carry with me. Never having tried to video before, I just turned the camera on, set it to video record and hoped. The result is now on YouTube and I enclose a link below.
People of a nervous disposition should look away now!!



Offbeat Pride Female



Mother and daughter



The unlucky eland



Settling down to dinner



Unwelcome visitor



Taking a beating



Almost finished



Fighting for scraps

YouTube link

http://youtu.be/7OiQ8cldIfY

Safariman

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Re: Lions vs. Hyenas, Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  Laikipia on Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:48 pm

Great report of your encounter and photos Safariman and also what an amazing clip, talk about a feeding frenzy. I find hyenas fascinating, I love all their different sounds and noises (and also enjoyed hearing Kaapen chatting a little in the background as well as someone else).

Sounds like you had a great time with Offbeat in Mara North - have you plans to return next year?

We're off in December for the New Year but up to the north and not to the Mara on this occasion.

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Re: Lions vs. Hyenas, Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  Safariman on Sat Jul 07, 2012 2:25 pm

Thanks.
Hope to return either at the end of this year early December or early January; it all depends as with everything on finance. I am not sure yet whether I will return to Offbeat Mara or revisit Offbeat Meru, or both. Meru is my favourite park in Africa, known as the 'Complete Wilderness', it lives up to its name, very few people , hardly any vehicle traffic, plus some fascinating and different wildlife and beautiful scenery. My idea of paradise.
Where are you off to ?

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Re: Lions vs. Hyenas, Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  Laikipia on Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:47 pm

So much choice in Kenya and it's all so beautiful. For me having not been to Meru I think Laikipia is my favourite area.

This time Pete (my husband) and I are starting at Sarara a lodge within in the Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Trust, we visited before last year and loved it. Then on to Joys Camp in Shaba National Reserve, and finally we go on to Ol Malo in the N.E province on the Uaso Nyiro River on the edge of the Laikipia plateau. We've not visited Ol Malo or Joys camp but as I have a passion for the area we thought we try them. In all about 10 nights between the camps.

I've not been to Meru but would love to and would love to see Piers and Kaapen again, I think I last saw Kaapen in Dec 2008 and Piers some time before that. The big problem is that there are so many beautiful places and not nearly enough time. A few months travelling around Kenya would be my idea of complete heaven!

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Re: Lions vs. Hyenas, Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  littlewid on Sat Jul 07, 2012 4:59 pm

That was a huge pack of Hyenas, not sure I have seen one that big filmed before. Obviously we know that food in the Mara can be a constant battle for some but boy, those guys ate like they had never eaten before, they really go for it don't they. I don't really like gory pics etc but that was an amazing video safariman and I think those lionessess did well to feed as much as they did with that lot around.

Loved the sequence of pictures and again the build up to them. Looking forward to more tales of your safari cheers

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Re: Lions vs. Hyenas, Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  RMorr50912 on Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:47 pm

More really good pictures and love the story behind them. Unfortunately I haven't been able to watch the video yet, problems on my end for sure. My connection is really slow today for some reason and videos are taking forever to play. I'm sure it'll clear up and I'll see it soon enough though. Thanks again for sharing these with us.

Ronnie

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Re: Lions vs. Hyenas, Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  whitestarling on Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:09 am

Great story, and photos Safariman especialy as you were having problems with the light. Your pocket camera did really well with taking the video. I think its a good idea to have two cameras, its great when you have time to work out settings , but some times you just need to get the shot, and having one set on auto, or as in this case you can just switch to video can be really worth it, as your video shows. There's lots of people who do'nt like Hyenas or Vultures for that matter as well, but without them in the ecosystem, there would be desease everywhere. That was really some pack, and the lioness's did'nt really stand a chance of fending them off, it's amazing where they all come from, once a scout has found a big food supply, they just call them all in. Thanks for sharing another of your adventures Safariman.

I've put this embeded link on Ronnie, just in case it works better.It proberby wont, and as you say its more than likely a connection problem



WS

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Re: Lions vs. Hyenas, Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  Safariman on Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:00 pm

Thanks Whitestarling.
I love hyenas and vultures and as you say they are the binmen of the bush, cleaning up everybody else's rubbish. The only downside is that in areas with too many hyenas, like the Mara, all the other predators and raptors struggle. The cheetahs and leopards are no match for a pack of hyenas; they not only loose their kills but also their cubs. None of my guides had ever seen so many hyenas in one place at the same time as shown on my video. The speed with which they demolished the kill meant there was nothing left for the jackals or vultures.
One thing that stood out for me on my visit to the Mara was the scarcity of vultures and other raptors compared with other reserves I have visited. I fear for the future particularly for cheetahs if the hyena numbers continue to increase in the Mara.

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Re: Lions vs. Hyenas, Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  whitestarling on Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:21 am

I did'nt realise that Hyena numbers were such a problem Safariman. I know from all the reports coming out of the Mara on the wildlife blogs from people like Jackson, Jonathan Scott, Paul kirui, and others that Cheetah numbers have dropped considerably in the last few years, but I did'nt connect it with a increase in Hyena numbers, but clearly they must have an effect. I have noticed that a lot of people are saying that Vulture, and Raptor are in serious decline, and a lot of that is down to poisoned carcass's put out when people have predator problems, that seems to effect the Birds a lot more than the Hyenas. I suppose the question is why have Heyna numbers increased so much
WS

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Re: Lions vs. Hyenas, Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  whitestarling on Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:40 am

Satistic. This thread has been viewed 48 times in 4 days
WS

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Re: Lions vs. Hyenas, Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  RMorr50912 on Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:20 am

Finally have all my connection issues sorted out. The new modem arrived and everything is running great again. That really was a fascinating video Safariman, and worth the wait for me to see it. To see how fast the hyenas go into that carcass is really amazing. The only thing that could have made it better in my opinion would have been the arrival of pride males to reclaim the kill! Great video, thanks for sharing with us.

Ronnie

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Re: Lions vs. Hyenas, Mara North Conservancy June 2012

Post  Safari Maiden on Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:59 pm

Wonderful photos again safariman! It soooooo makes me want to be back of Safari again.

TT (hubby) and I honeymooned in the Serengeti and we too witnessed a stand off between Lion and Hyena. The two lionesses inevitably became overwhelmed by sheer numbers.

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