Elephant Plains Safari: Tyson Beaten Up … and a Lion Fight!

Brendon Reports from Elephant Plains: Tyson Beaten Up … and a Lion Fight!

We decided not to visit Salayexe before sunrise this morning as it is too dangerous to use the spotlights on the cub, so instead we went to check on the two Styx Lions with the giraffe kill. On the way we passed the Serengeti waterhole where one of the males was drinking – and drinking.

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He drank for quite some time before he started a leisurely stroll back to the carcass where he met up with the other male and settled down to feed again. On the way we had some great walk-by’s as he sauntered past us.

By now it was light enough to try and find find Salayexe.

On the way we bumped into Tyson, a well-known resident male leopard. He had clearly been in a vicious fight and did not look his usual healthy, strong and vital self. For many years he has been a large, dominant leopard in this area, and now things are changing dramatically as he ages and the younger, stronger males have started to challenge him. He was a magnificent specimen and it was really sad to see him looking so beaten and so thin. But then, leopards are resilient, and we hope that he will still be around for a few more years.

We found Salayexe at her den, and with her cub.

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We captured some superb images of the two as the cub played around, pounced on mom, ran around her, and didn’t seem to stop for a moment. We noticed some remains of the Cane Rat which Salayexe had brought for the cub, but had not yet been eaten.

Then we heard a lion fight in the distance and quickly headed that way to see what the fracas was all about. As we approached we saw two very anxious, skittish young male lions slinking along, nervously checking everywhere and starting at every sound. These were two Sparta males. They had killed a buffalo a day or two back and this morning they were discovered by the five very big Birmingham Males. With plenty of snarling, roaring and other signs of aggression from the five, the two youngsters had no choice other than to flee …

We managed some good images of the two before their fear took them into some thick bush where they could hide from the aggressors.

We found the Birmingham five enjoying the remains of the buffalo and spent the remainder of our time with them before returning to the lodge.

This afternoon we quickly passed by Salayexe and although she was relaxing in the open there was no sign of her cub, so we moved on.

We encountered quite a few Buffalo Bulls and herds of elephants on our way to the five lions. We found the lions relaxing in the late afternoon sun, rolling around now and then, but disinclined to move much. We waited until after dark, hoping that they would be more active and that we could get some backlit and side lit shots, but they did not cooperate. They slept on and lifted their heads for a second or two now and again.

We will try again in the morning …

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