For a single heart stopping moment, they stood and stared at each other with just meters between them. Four male lions, confident and big, had piercing gazes locked on Adam and Solly. A low growl sounded, reinforced by two, then three low rumbles from either side. Stepping backward slowly, Adam and Solly created distance between themselves and the coalition eased back down into the grass, never letting their sights off the pair. There was an undeniable tension in the air. An intangible energy which had already set the Majingilane coalition on edge. Something was in the air. Something was up….
Two minutes later the four male lions got up and walked straight past the Land Rovers. Suddenly, like a flash, one male set off at speed into the dense bush amidst rampant thunders of aggression. Seconds later, the remaining three members of the coalition were by his side, forcing themselves onto his quarry, delighting in the savage violence they could inflict on the lone hyena.
It is not uncommon for lions to kill hyenas; hyenas to kill lions; leopard to kill hyenas; hyenas to kill leopards and lions to kill leopards. The hierarchy of predators is competitive and it has bred an environment where the strongest survives. Sometimes you win by yourself, at other times you may lose despite being in a group. Such is the nature of life.
There was nothing particularly unusual about this interaction between the 4 males and the hyena. Male lions have an intense loathing for hyenas and typically act aggressively towards them. Whether this is to secure their territory for the safety of the pride, for fun or simply as a revenge from earlier incidents is all debatable.
What I found to be fascinating about this interaction was the unbridled aggression that these dominant males displayed towards the hyena. Merciless, demonstrative and intensely aggressive, the Majingilane Males look as though they are out to prove a point. And whatever that point is, every lion, leopard and hyena in the are should take note. The longer these Majingilanes move through their newly acquired territory, enforcing their rule, the longer they are going to here to stay!
Photographed by: Adam Bannister
Filmed by: Steven Foreman (Londolozi Guest)