I think it is even more amazing that the two brothers are operating together….probably due to the age factor…. I’ve always considered leopards to be almost strictly solitary…. Overall I am not totally surprised at the leopards killing the hyena…. This is not the first time I’ve come across such…. If spotted hyenas were solitary, I think that leopards will rank higher in the predator dominance… On a one on one basis, the leopard is a truly formidable adversry “pound for pound”….
Once the hyena was dragged up the tree, he no longer stood any chance. Instead of being the one to lock his firm jaws around flesh and bones, he now felt the powerful grip of the Maxabeni 3:2 Young Male Leopard around the back of his neck. Suspended 5 meters up and wailing for assistance from any creature that might hear him, the only other animal that arrived was the Maxabeni 3:3 young Male Leopard. After one too many stolen kills and aggressive encounters, the Maxabeni Leopard Brothers were now exacting their revenge….
It is hard to surmise precisely why this encounter happened as leopards do not typically hunt, let alone eat, hyenas. The obvious conclusion suggests the unsuspecting hyena was in the wrong place at the wrong time; suffering the actions of the two brothers who act more confidently than usual when together. The small, lone hyena stood no chance against the two brutes who opportunistically decided to attack him. He was an unsuspecting victim in the ecosystem. But is there a deeper reason as to this aggressive outburst on the side of the Maxabeni brothers?
The hyena population at Londolozi has increased largely over the last 5 years largely owing to the instability of the lion dynamics as well as the growth of the prey species populations. The increase in competition for food has led to greater conflict than normal between the leopards and hyena. You will remember our post, Hyenas chase Maxabeni Brothers off a Kill. Surely these such encounters only add to the leopards’ motive for acting with such aggression towards hyenas?
The maturity of these two brothers has also crossed through my mind. Are they at the stage whereby they are now looking to assert themselves dominantly? Is this the beginning of further conflict between these two predators and even between their own species? The brothers are still living underneath their mothers care despite being over 24 months of age. Natural aggressive tendencies and dominant instincts could well be coming forward prominently as they mature each day.
What other reasons do you think contributed to this rare and isolated event between the two brothers and the hyena occurring? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Filmed by: John Caden (Londolozi Guest)
Photographed by: Linda Caden (Londolozi Guest)
Very true Patrick, it is both amazing that these two brothers are still operating together as it is that true that one on one the leopard is a formidable adversary. I believe that these two leopards are working together as neither of them has been forced out of their mother’s territory. Once this happens, more than likely in the next six months, I am sure these males will split up. They may move together for a while, however ultimately leopards are solitary creatures and it is highly improbable that they will be together.
In Djuma, we have been seeing some very unusual leopard behavior. On several occasions, mom Karula, her two current cubs, their dad, and an older cub who is now independent were all together. We’ve seen an independent young male cub with his dad, with a kill in a tree, and quite content to be there together. Many other instances come to mind. Perhaps, with the increase in prey species, new behaviors are beginning to be seen and the interaction with this hyena and two older brothers is a part of that