Hyenas and lions are legendary enemies to such a degree that even Disney animators in The Lion King made sure to focus on this ancient rivalry. Not many get to see what happens when these foes come face-to-face, however.
Marc Cronje, a 29-year-old Bird and Nature Field Guide, was at the Grootkolk Wilderness Camp in the Kgalagadi National Park when he happened to see a brown hyena get itself mixed up with a whole pride of lion right in front of him.
Marc, who conducts birding and wildlife tours for Nature Travel Africa and Nature Travel Birding across the world, explains that the Hyena simply seemed unaware as it wandered right into the midst of three full-grown lions.
“I was on a wildlife holiday with my brother and it was his first time ever visiting the park. We had not been on a drive at all and the sighting happened right in front of us at the camp’s waterhole, which was also right in front of our accommodation,” he told LatestSightings.
He explained how he woke up for a game drive having heard lions in the area all night, only to find they were camped mere metres from the pride who were on the other side of the camp fence, and he took to watching them while drinking his morning coffee.
We watched them for a while and saw a brown hyena approach the waterhole from the opposite directions of where the lions were. Getting to see a brown hyena is already rare in itself, but to see one in daylight was mind-blowing. As a wildlife guide, I thought that the hyena would move off as soon as it saw the lions, but boy was I wrong!” said Marc. “The hyena kept approaching the waterhole for a drink, seemingly oblivious to the presence of the lions waiting for it. The lions, in turn, crouched down as they started getting ready to stalk and catch the hyena. With this, I rushed to get my camera, excited to be able to capture what would follow…”
What happened next proved the legendary rivalry between these animals is very real, and is also an example of nature at it’s most swiftly brutal – fortunately for those of us who weren’t there Marc got it all on tape.
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