About the Author

Guy Brunskill

Ranger

Guy grew up in the city of Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal. From a very young age he visited the bush each holiday. It was during these early years that his passion and interest was ignited for this incredible environment. After school he acquired a ...

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10 Comments

on Hyenas Take Down Rutting Impala

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Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

Great video. They actually started eating the Impala when it was still alive.

Andrew & Daniel Bolnick
Senior Digital Ranger

As intense as this might be to some it is captivating to watch. Thanks for the video James. Its a great time to be in the Bush

Bob & Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

Like watching wild dogs … nature in its raw’est form.

Doug Hammerich
Senior Digital Ranger

Thank you for this amazing episode. Is it usual for impala rams to carry on fighting even after dark when the ruckus is sure to attract predator attention?

Joan Schmiidt
Senior Digital Ranger

James, life is full of surprises! With his leg injured the impala had no chance with hyenas circling him.

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Video was illuminating, demonstrating how survival works in the greater food chain. A good meal for the hyenas, mating rights for the winning impala and life continues. Thank you for your continued interesting blogs, capturing moments with other non Big Five animals.

Wendy Macnicol
Senior Digital Ranger

Difficult to watch. I would think it better to go quickly though than battle through life with a painful and broken leg – which would be a much slower and agonizing way to finally die. Wendy M

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

It’s interesting to read a post about hyenas hunting in the Greater Kruger, they don’t seem to be as active hunters as hyenas in the Kgalagadi, Savuti, Liuwa and the Serengeti/Mara.

Joanne Wadsworth Kelley
Digital Tracker

I didn’t have the heart to watch the video since someone mentioned it was still alive when the eating began. I haven’t had my morning coffee yet…..lol. Anyway, the impala had no chance with a huge leg injury and no energy to fight. That’s natures way.

Reseal05
Explorer

Thanks for sharing this news. Happy for the hyenas that they got to eat – they fight so hard for food, and really seem to appreciate every meal. I’ve shared your link to an online space I maintain about spotted hyenas, https://www.quora.com/q/zdhafigwiblrteef. I think some of the language here was too hard on hyenas, who are very different from the way they’re normally portrayed in fiction. Because of their complex female-centered social structure and their beautifully team-coordinated hunts, among other reasons, they are the #1 animal that would make me want to go on safari. The computer programming school I work for seriously discussed choosing the hyena as our mascot for their persistence, teamwork, coordination, intelligence, female-friendly society, and representative alliance-based leadership – which are our values. Spotted hyenas have many compelling characteristics, a spirited and growing fanbase, and are part of the product you’re selling when you sell Londolozi safari tours.

(1) “Africa’s ultimate scavengers were on the scene almost immediately” – yes, but they’re also perhaps the world’s ultimate pack-hunting predators. No other species besides humans can regularly field dozens of individuals who know each other well, all working together. Spotted hyenas are the commonest large predator species in Africa, so might actually kill more prey than lions or leopards. “Many rams…didn’t fall prey to lions or leopards, but to other species” implies that lions and leopards are the main predators and spotted hyenas only pick off a few, which is not true.

(2) “We could see three other hyenas…skulking” – the word choice of “skulking” otherizes the hyenas. Saying the impala was “targeted” by the hyenas who “came rushing in from the darkness” also carries the implication the hyenas are somehow sinister. Hyenas are no more sinister than any other animal, and have complicated social rituals that promote bonding and prevent violence.

(3) I am sorry this hunt was difficult to watch. Some of the commenters also mention that the hyenas began eating while the impala was still alive. However, five hyenas killing their prey by eating it would mean the prey dies quickly – perhaps more quickly than it would if it were suffocated as lions might do. Unlike cats, hyenas are also direct and to the point about what they want from their prey and don’t beat around the bush playing for a long time with wounded and frightened prey that’s still alive. A pack of hyenas can finish an entire impala in a few minutes. This is a win-win situation – hyenas ensuring they are able to eat mean the impala is in pain for a shorter period of time.

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