Monday, August 11, 2008

Hyenas vs. lions

As the sun came up this morning, a tense standoff unfolded in front of me. Two lions – one subadult male and one young lioness – appeared just a few meters from one of our clan’s dens. The hyenas were on high alert; about 30 of them surrounded the lions, their tails bristled and their heads held high.

Four hyenas – Archer, Sawtooth, Koi, and Agent Orange - began to approach the pair of lions. The lions took off…and just when I thought my valiant hyenas had saved the day, I saw the real reason behind the lions’ departure: two HUGE adult male lions coming over the top of a nearby hill.

As they approached the hyenas, they broke into a lope and began roaring (and if you haven’t experienced a lion roaring next to you, let me tell you, it’s amazing. It’s unbelievably loud and very low-frequency…it reverberates in your body just like bass that’s turned up too high on your radio).

All the hyenas scattered except Archer, who stood her ground. For a moment, the lions stared her down from less than 5 meters away, then they turned for the den. They pawed and scent-marked all around it, then began to dig at the denhole. Finally, after wreaking havoc there for a few minutes, they turned around and simply walked away. Brave Archer (who I think has very young cubs inside the den) never fled, and as soon as the lions left, she lay right down next to the den.

Although it's reassuring that this meeting didn't end in bloodshed, the lions have obviously found the hyenas' den. The battle between these two carnivores never ends, and, for the moment, it looks like these lions have the upper hand.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Keep us posted...

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