About the Author

James Tyrrell

Photographic Guide/Media Team

James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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13 Comments

on Hyena Steals Kill From Leopard. Leopard Steals it Back.

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Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

Wow! Incredible experience. A lovely story with a happy ending.

Phil Schultz
Explorer

Well that sounded like a unique sighting! Out of curiosity, was wondering when the rangers typically find the time to go out together on game drives. Curious if it occurs mainly on a staff member’s off day or if perhaps it’s s group of semi on-duty rangers that head out as spotters? Im assuming you guys are out there during the same morning and afternoon hours as everybody else

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Phil, good question.
Because the lodge is so busy, there isn’t actually that much opportunity to go out as a group.
This instance was actually an assessment drive; when new rangers are coming to the end of their training, a group of senior management and/or experienced rangers will act as the ‘guests’, and the trainee ranger has to conduct a game drive to the Londolozi standard, demonstrating his/her bush knowledge and game drive technique. Usually it’s a whole series of drives over a few weeks with feedback sessions after each one and refinements made by the prospective ranger.
Funnily enough, the quality of the sighting has little or no bearing on the performance appraisal by the senior staff. Whatever the sighting is, be it sleeping lions to wild dogs on the hunt, it just has to be handled/managed effectively by the trainee to get the most out of it.
Having said that, the drive we were on on this particular afternoon resulted in a Pass!
Best,
James

Janie Hansen
Explorer

I like the fact that you mentioned Paul D. Hi Paul! Do the new rangers take turns driving? Do you take a tracker as well. Life and death drama, coupled with the natural order of the bush. In the video I was shocked to see how quickly the leopard relinquished her kill as soon as the hyena came onto the scene. And how much a hyena can eat in 10 minutes. Astounding. Thanks for the wonderful blog entry!!

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

That has to be the sighting of a lifetime!!!!!! Seeing a leopard kill is just incredible, to see a takeover is even better, but then to see the leopard get its kill back is almost unheard of!! You guys always seem to have the most incredible luck!!

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

See, now this is why I want to go to Londolozi!!

Rich Laburn
Head of Digital

Insane sighting!

Denise Vouri
Digital Tracker

Leopard 1
Hyena 1
Leopard 1 and this time for keeps.

What a fabulous sighting and your descriptions are perfect. Glad the trainee received a pass grade!!

Darlene Knott
Senior Digital Ranger

Wow, I would have loved to have been there for that! I also would root for the leopard, James. She worked so hard! But hyenas are smart animals and use their brains and brawn well. Wonderful story and photos. Thanks for sharing!

Michael & Terri Klauber
Digital Tracker

James, It was surprising that there were not more hyenas nearby and we’re sure the hyena would have made some noise during the leopard encounter! Is it rare to have just one hyena involved? Aren’t there usually groups of them together?

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi Michael and Terri,
in the Sabi Sands the hyenas generally forage alone, as it’s mainly leopards they are competing with.
A second one did arrive on the scene shortly after the leopard hoisted but by then it was too late.
Take a look at this post that describes the hyena dynamics here in a bit more detail: http://blog.londolozi.com/2017/05/03/why-the-hyenas-are-alone/

Best
Jamo

Ginger Brucker
Explorer

Wow! Your wonderful retelling of this sighting had my own heart beating. Incredible. Is it typical that a hyena would be out “hunting” or should I say “scavenging” on their own? My own experience was seeing a pack waiting for two older lions to finish eating a kill.

Ginger Brucker
Explorer

I see you answered the question I posed in an earlier response!

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