A couple of nights ago the four Majingilane Brothers killed a female buffalo at Londolozi. It was incredible to watch them tear apart the carcass and feed throughout the night. We decided to go and sit with them the next morning, at day-break, to see if we could film any interesting encounters between the members of this ever-present coalition.
Whilst watching them feed, we heard in the distance, a bleating sound. The distress call of a buffalo. The male lions looked up in recognition of the call. They obviously decided that it was not worth investigating as they had half an adult buffalo still to eat. We, however, decided that there was something happening and sped off.
The bleating continued for about a minute…we arrived on the scene about 30 seconds too late. Twenty hyenas had just killed a buffalo calf. With no other buffalo in the area it became painfully obvious what had happened: the calf’s mother was obviously the buffalo being fed on 500 meters away by the mighty male lions. Unsure of how to handle life at such a young age this young calf must have been roaming around the area during the night. The hyenas had decided the time was right…
The entertaining thing to watch was how hesitant the hyenas were to 1) feed and 2) make a noise. They were all very aware that sitting a short distance away was their arch enemy and that if they drew attention to themselves then they would be under the sword. As the clan grew in confidence they started to feed, continually looking up in the direction of the Majingilane.
Eventually The Dark Manned Majingilane did come, but it was too late to scavenge any of the remains of this calf. We watched this fascinating scene unfold, reminded about the seemingly harsh way that the bush operates. It made me wonder though, how often these Londolozi Hyenas are actually kiling for themselves. We are very quick to always say that they have scavenged kills from other predators; I feel that maybe we are not giving them the credit they deserve!
Written and filmed by Adam Bannister