A Blue Monday ends in horror

For all of the animals in the African bush it is a fight for survival, not knowing when a predator will practice his survival skills on an opportunistic prey. The “rule” is simple, stay alive or become prey!!! This is a story of a Lion kill and very bad luck for a young Nyala bull.

We were following our ‘handsome’ but fearless male & female Lions’ tracks when my colleague notified me on the radio that he had just witnessed a Leopard kill not far from where we were tracking. I decided to abandon the tracks and made my way to the Leopard kill…anxiety was setting in knowing that we are going to witness a Leopard kill! The Leopard is an elusive, nocturnal hunter which makes it difficult to spot.

Two hundred metres from where the Leopard had made his kill another Ranger said on the radio that something had “spooked” the cat and she left the kill to disappear into the bush…I was disappointed but still made my way. I drove slowly into the area hoping that maybe she will still be close by, when the big male and female lions appeared next to the vehicle.

The two Lions did not care about our presence and were walking in front of the vehicle. By this time Tim, the ranger from the leopard kill had joined the lock. Then a young Nyala bull crossed the road between the two vehicles. The Nyala looked like it was injured by the way he was walking and slowly crossed the road, which gave the lions just enough time to crouch and get ready for their attack!

The female was the first to give chase towards the Nyala and not long before she had it in her powerful claws, of course the male followed. We had just witnessed a kill fifteen metres away from the vehicle!

After inspecting the tracks from the Nyala we realized that this was the Nyala that the Leopard had caught. An animal or prey that has been caught by a predator normally dies due to Hypoxia – lack of oxygen to the brain. However, the leopard didn’t suffocate its prey for long enough so when the Nyala stood up from surviving a Leopard attack it did not have enough strength to survive an additional attack…

What a great way to survive one kill but unfortunately, he landed into the jaws of another predator! What a Monday.

Joe – River Lodge Ranger
27/06/2012



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