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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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22 Comments

on Lioness Takes on 15 Hyenas

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How the cub managed to escape without being physically attacked by the hyenas? Why didn’t hyenas go after it?

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Good question. I think it was primarily the wildebeest they were interested in, and the cub fled towards the side the hyenas weren’t on…

Wendy Macnicol
Digital Tracker

The Tsalala lioness is an amazing Mom, hunter and full of courage. To stave off – even for a while – 15 hyenas – on her own – is pluck in the extreme. Her youngster was not much use and scuttled off quickly. A very wise move. Thank you, James! Wendy M

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

What a video-whew! Good to know the lioness/cub were able to benefit from the wildebeest kill although they really had to work for their meal so as not to lose it to the pack of hyenas. Interesting to note how many hyenas it takes to overcome an adult lioness…… all’s well that ends well.

Joan Schmiidt
Master Tracker

James, loved the video – Tsalala Lioness takes on 15 hyenas

Michael Kalm
Guest contributor

I’m speechless.

Andrew and Daniel Bolnick
Digital Tracker

James, Wow, talk about exciting! Awesome capture of this struggle for a meal. I wish it was much longer. Wish I was there but this is the next best thing

Mike Dominici
Explorer

Great story and video. With the large numbers of lions and hyenas in the area I’m sure these interactions are fairly common. I wish the video was a bit longer and showed more of the interaction. Thankfully the cub made it out safely. where was the rest of her pride? It seems they would have heard the commotion. There are many theories on the numbers game and weights when it comes to these interactions but there are many videos on YouTube that show a few lionesses fending off a whole clan of hyenas and relatively small numbers of hyena chasing away just a few more lionesses. Adult males definitely tip the balance but it seems it comes down to the sheer aggression of either group when the numbers are not overly swayed.

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

Hi MIke, she has no pride sadly. She is the last one left; the others have died over the years.

Mike Dominici
Explorer

Thanks for the reply. That is sad that her whole pride is gone. It will be very hard for her to raise her club on her own as the video proved.

James Tyrrell
Photographic Guide/Media Team

And yes, I agree with you that it’s not simply a matter of biomass. Certain animals can be overly aggressive, often depending on individual temperament or what’s at stake.

Michael Fleetwood
Senior Digital Ranger

Glad that her cub managed to come out of this encounter unscathed!

Leonie De Young
Senior Digital Ranger

What an incredible sighting James. Am sure you all got a good adrenaline rush. Did not like to see those odds, but at least everything turned out OK at the end – everyone got their fill. A happy ending. Thanks for sharing with us.

Ian Hall
Master Tracker

For one lioness to charge that many hyenas, quite incredible.

Karen Bullen
Explorer

Thanks for taking us right into the scene – and living that “wild life” alongside you and the guests. Very exciting and real….

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

Wow, that’s incredible!!! It’s not often you see a lone lioness stand up to 15 hyenas!!! Normally 4/5 hyenas can chase off a lioness.

Thanks James! I just love hearing about the Tsalala lioness and her cub. I am part of a cheerleading squad that wants them to succeed so badly.

Victoria Auchincloss
Digital Tracker

Hooray for the lions!!!!! Victoria

Susan Strauss
Senior Digital Ranger

She is my hero, that one.

Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

Amazing sighting. Great video.

Suzanne Gibson
Guest contributor

Incredible! I turned the volume right up on the video and felt I was back at Londolozi – thanks, James.

Alex McMillan
Explorer

It seems like the lioness in this situation is driven off when there are enough hyenas to surround her, and attack her undefended rump. That’s why she sits down at one point before running. I’ve seen the same scenario in other video even of a big male lion, that if there are enough hyenas to occupy the jaws and paws that others can attack from the rear, the lion will scarper. What the exact biomass equation is to that effect I don’t know … sheer numbers for sure!

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