Hyena are strong

But first an update on our leopard cub. We tracked down our resident female leopard, Twinspots last cub (he was born last year). He is fully independent now and was following a very large herd of buffalo. After a while he vanished into a thicket. Since we were struggling to relocate him, we decided to go back to see the buffalo. Here we noticed a small group had separated from the herd, as if distracted by something, so we decided to check it out. When we got to them, it was clear that the buffalo had chased the young leopard up a tree! He was casually looking down at them as the buffalo could do little more than gaze and they eventually lost interest. And after a while he too decided he had had enough and left the buffalo to go and find something more interesting. It is really great to be able to see such a relaxed sub-adult learning to survive in the bush by himself. He settled down for a while, giving us some great opportunities for photographs – his mother Twinspot would be very proud!

We had seen the lions feeding on a buffalo cow a few days previously so we decided to have another look early one morning to see if they were still around. As we reached the area we noticed that the carcass had been moved and some vultures were hanging around. Then suddenly a hyena appeared as if from nowhere! He nervously approached the carcass and started to feed. Every now and then he would lift his head and look over his shoulder as if aware that something was watching him, then he would dash off, giving the vultures a chance to dive in and eat as quickly as possible! But each time he would return and chase off the vultures – repeating this process 3 times. Then finally, in one movement he picked up the skull, complete with spine still attached, and carried it off deep into the bush where we lost sight of him. This was an amazing show of strength – hyena have huge muscles on either side of the cranium connected to the jaws that are capable of crushing thick bone. That along with a seriously strong forequarters make hyena a force to be reckoned with. He made this feat look really easy!