About the Author

Kirst Joscelyne

Ranger

At less than a year old, Kirst went to her family’s hut in the Greater Kruger National Park, and has been fortunate enough to continue to go there ever since. Sharing a passion for the bush with her family, led to countless trips ...

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12 Comments

on Hyenas vs. Vultures: Who are the Better Scavengers?

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Michael and Terri Klauber
Guest contributor

Kirst, You took on a challenging subject! We have seen both scavengers in action many times at Londolozi! The screams of the Hyenas still ring in our ears as they fought with each other over a kill – not to be forgotten. The circling of vultures has helped us track leopards and lions. We agree that the vultures are more efficient at the work they do. The circle of life is not always pretty, but both of these scavengers clearly serve an important part in the process!!

Jeff Rodgers
Digital Tracker

Great blog and to me, helps dissipate the Vultures and Hyenas as ‘the bad guys’ as they are too often portrayed in the movies.

Christa Blessing
Master Tracker

Great article on these scavengers.
You are lucky at Londolozi that you still have vultures. In lots of other parks you can’t see any any more because they are nearly extinct there.

William Paynter
Digital Tracker

Great lesson Kirst, thanks for the education about these scavengers. It is not a bad thing to have these Vultures and Hyenas around.

Leonie De Young
Master Tracker

A very interesting blog Kirst – learned a lot from it. Thanks for sharing.

Valmai Vorster
Master Tracker

Kirst ,yes both the vultures and hyenas play a very important role in the bush and ecosystem. If it was not for them, the carcasses would be decaying and it would be a awful situation then. They do very good work scavenging and fighting for every last piece of meat. The sounds the hyenas make are quite nerve racking, but we must give them credit for cleaning up the carcasses.

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Kirst, great subjects for this blog. I give my vote to the vultures who as you stated, wait patiently in the trees for their opportunity to descend and make waste of the carcass. I’ve observed both scavengers in action, around and in the remains of an old bull elephant, and the din from both was ear numbing. The hyenas were grabbing and swallowing until full and then left, whilst the vultures stayed and continued to pick away. There was a hierarchy observed because as some vultures were eating, a new group flew in and the others flew off. They both get a bad rap but as Robyn eluded in her article, they are necessary for the sustainment of life in all its forms.

Francesca Doria
Master Tracker

I vote for vultures as well. Their tactic is impeccable to the last scrap. Also they are ugly but if seen in flight they have their charm…

Vin Beni
Guest contributor

Hyenas are incredibly scary as they move around the vehicle. To me they’re more terrifying than the vultures flying overhead. Thanks for clarifying their diffing approach to their “craft.”

Irene Henkes
Digital Tracker

For me it is the hyena. Simply because they also eat the bone and therefore leave nothing, whereas the vultures do leave bone and sometimes also not completely cleaned……. 😉
But I love them both!!

Cally Staniland
Master Tracker

Super topic Kirst! Another perfect example too of how nature has it’s way of keeping the cycle of life turning in giving back what it takes and providing for all its creatures along the way. Vultures certainly win and may their numbers increase. Tragic that we have lost so many at the hand of poachers poisoning game.

Patrick Smyth
Explorer

brilliant article. I go with the vulture, too, as I am a bird person

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