A clan of hungry hyenas are caught in the act as they feast on the body of a young leopard. A hyena carries the carcass along the main road and into the bushes where the rest of the clan devours it.
70-year-old retired producer, Bjorn Borge Lunde, was able to witness this sad sighting. He shared the images and story with LatestSightings.com.
“We were driving towards Letaba from Phalaborwa Gate when we noticed a car parked at the side of the road. Curious, we drove closer and saw two young hyenas munching on a carcass. At first, we were unable to identify the carcass, but we instantly knew it was no ordinary carcass.”
“As we watched, one of the hyenas left to head back to its den, while the other carried the carcass in its mouth towards the den. That’s when we saw it clearly! To our surprise, the animal they were devouring was a leopard.”
Hyenas and leopards are often rivals in the wild, as both are opportunistic predators that compete for food. They are known to steal kills from other predators, including leopards. However, leopards are also skilled hunters and are capable of taking down prey much larger than themselves.
We will never know if this small clan of hyenas was responsible for the death of this leopard. There are many possibilities. It could have been that this leopard was defeated in a territorial fight with another leopard and ended up losing its life. However, it is not a far-fetched theory that the hyenas were able to surround and kill this leopard as it crossed their path.
“We followed the hyenas; the two hyenas stayed busy with the leopard for a while. Gnawing and tearing chunks of meat from the carcass. We watched on in amazement until the entire carcass was reduced to a few pieces of skin and bones.”Hyenas have a unique ability to consume and digest almost anything. Their strong jaws and stomach acids allow them to eat bones, fur, and even hooves. In fact, hyenas have been known to consume entire animals, including elephants and rhinos.
“For anyone planning a safari trip, my advice is to be patient and enjoy the experience. You never know what you might witness in the wild. And if you do happen to come across a rare sighting, take your time to appreciate it fully.”