Elephant Plains Safari: A Bully Hyena Matriarch …

News from Villiers:

(Images from back of Villiers’ Camera)

It was freezing this morning – the coldest so far, but luckily there was no wind and we were able to bake a little in the sun.

The cold as always drove many of the predators into hiding … but the scavengers were out! We found a group of Spotted Hyenas shortly after we left the Lodge. Our tracker, Justice, spotted some entrails of an impala on the ground. He identified that there had been a scuffle as the leafy disturbance clearly showed him what had happened. He showed us how the drag marks crossed the road and led us to seven Spotted Hyenas.

There were a few adult hyenas with a few youngsters and they were really busy with the remains of an impala. Just a bit of skin, horns, and bone were left, but the hyenas enjoyed these to the full.

The dominant female of the hyena clan was in charge – looking as though she has swallowed a large wrecking ball. Her massive bulging stomach led us to conclude that she is heavily pregnant – but no!

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The guides told us that she always looks like that – never thinner! Probably because as the boss lady she always gets to the food first and eats her fill – and more! She was very aggressive with the other hyenas, continually chasing them away … until she got rid of them, picked up the carcass and walked off with it!

We searched for leopard, but no luck in the cold. But there was a magnificent, large Kudu Bull that came up from the river, some entertaining Dwarf Mongooses soaking up the sun on a termite mound, and some squirrels that stuck to the sunny side of the trees. All the birds seemed to be out and also sunning themselves in the warming run rays.

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The group are preparing to leave Elephant Plains after a hearty brunch while Niel and I will welcome to the new group in time for lunch …