Hyenas chase wild dogs through lodge to steal kill

Posted by Anita Froneman on 1 December 2020

Bush-lovers travel kilometres, and reserves far and wide before they are lucky enough to witness an animal chase or a kill. Clearly, at the Elephant Plains Game Lodge in Sabi Sand Game Reserve, the action comes to you.

Photographer Armand Grobler was lucky to be at the right place at the time when a wild dog brought its kill into the dining area of the lodge, before a clan of hyenas tore through the property chasing a pack wild dogs all hoping to get a bite to eat. In the background, a leopard patiently waited right in front of a chalet to get his share of the pie.

It sounds bizarre, but that’s Africa for you. Grobler explains how it all unfolded:

Head Ranger Ruan Momberg explained that as he and colleague Josh Venter had been busy setting up the coffee table for guests, they heard a loud ‘BANG’ between the dining room and bar area, (in the middle of the lodge) and upon investigating, saw that an African wild dog was feasting on an impala, a gruesome scene that few people get to experience.

The wild dog ran away as the rangers approached, escaping with a chunk of meat to feed on later, so Ruan carried the carcass out of the dining area to clean the floor before the arrival of guests.

As he told the story there was a burst of action behind us, and a bunch of wild dogs raced through the lodge and into the Manyeleti Riverbed below, followed by a clan of spotted hyena giving chase. The alarm call of vervet monkeys echoed throughout the lodge, clear evidence of another predator lurking under the cover of shadows…

As I followed the drag marks, I saw where the impala carcass was lying, and could see the hyenas and wild dogs gradually make their approach. We hurriedly got into the safari vehicle and made our way to the carcass, which was now occupied by one hyena, feasting ferociously and ungracefully. Chaos broke out behind us toward the lodge, only to find two more hyenas running down the road, carrying the lifeless body of a bush buck ewe.

The sound of the monkeys’ alarm calls became deafening, and soon we realised why… Lying in front of Zebra Room’s door, was a large male leopard waiting patiently for an opportunity to scavenge any meat left by the other predators. He had front row seat to all the action!

We returned to the lone hyena feeding and found that the wild dogs started rounding up, outnumbering and eventually chasing the hyena off her kill. She then started calling back-up and almost as if coming from under the ground, her clan appeared with great force, chasing the wild dogs from the carcass and feasting away selfishly at what was left.

To describe the scene as anarchy is a complete understatement. Yet as quick as it started, it finished. Peace was upon us and the bush fell into an eerie silence. You could hear a pin drop.

Take a look:




Pictures: Armand Grobler Photography

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