Friday, March 27, 2015

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

 The den scene was nothing extraordinary. In fact, it began as a great day to practice IDs and training with our new recruit, Matt. But, then the madness commenced.

“This is crazy...” I whispered to Matt as I unclenched one tense hand from the steering wheel and pushed the record button on my DVR.

“At 0626 five lions walk arrive...”

So it began.

The following video is only a small snippet of what occurred on this fateful morning. We watched our brave Talek West hyenas mob (approach rapidly in mass) a group of seven lions! (There were six sub-adults lions and one adult female.) Our overly aggressive adult female Amazon led most of the charges, however the beautiful sub-adult Decimeter was also one of the leading ladies.

Throughout the confrontation, our main mobbing group would lose interest and slowly wander away back towards their den (located about 150 meters away!) Then ten minutes later, Amazon would sniff the air and stare intently in the direction of the sleeping lions. I would be observing a greet between El Paso and Lust, and turn back only to see Amazon’s bristly tail as she loped towards the cats followed by Buenos Aires, Helios, Decimeter, Wrath, Atacama, and others. The lion/hyena interaction finally ended around 0800 when the hyenas lost interest (for the last time) and wandered away.

I know what you’re wondering, but don’t worry. No hyenas were harmed in the making of this film and no lions either. In fact, the two groups never even made physical contact. In that way, it was similar to WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) since we were able to see some great behavior mostly through intimidation with no real fighting.

Overall, the Talek West hyenas defended their den from a group of young lions and gave both Matt and I an unforgettable morning.


Anonymous said...

I love the way that they all seem to glance at the landrover at one point as if to say 'arn't you researchers gonna back us up?'

Kay said...

Brilliant, Chase! Thanks!!!

Michigan State University | College of Natural Science