Thursday, October 10, 2013

Carcass Party

We’ve been getting frustrated at our hyenas lately because they’ve been very difficult to get to. We discovered around 70 or more wildebeest carcasses in the river near where we think the clan might be denning, and the hyenas have been ecstatic with all the free food. We think the wildebeest must have tried to cross when the river was too high and then got washed down stream. I would’ve thought this would make for a perfect situation, since well over half the clan has been spending most of their time near there, but unfortunately, the river is at the bottom of very steep banks, so we can’t get down to the water, and visibility is poor from the top. As if this was not enough, the entire area is surrounded by impenetrable bushes that the hyenas like to hide in when they aren’t busy eating the carcasses in the river. So it’s been very difficult trying to identify fifty hyenas at once based on brief glances. Nevertheless, the huge number of carcasses has been neat to watch because it draws in scavengers from all over. The first night, we saw crocodiles yanking meat off of the bloated wildebeests, and during the day, the whole area is blanketed by vultures and marabou storks. After a few days, the stench has gotten nauseating, but many of the carcasses have already been cleared away by the collective scavenging effort.

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