Monday, August 28, 2017

My first lion-hyena interaction

Today I had my first lion hyena interaction. My co-research assistant Kecil and I were sitting at one of our dens with Sawtooth, an adult female. She was very restless and kept looking off in the same direction, so I got curious. I couldn’t see what she was looking towards at first, but eventually I spotted a blonde blob off in the distance. Kecil and I drove over to investigate and found three lions, two female and one male.

As we were photographing them we looked up to see four hyenas vigilantly looking at them with bristle tails. More and more hyenas arrived until we had ten hyenas running about excitedly. We even saw two cubs, King Ghidorah and Drogon, who we found only sixty meters from the lions! The hyenas began bristle tail social sniffing and parallel walking, pumping themselves up to fight off the lions that were only 200 meters from the communal den.

The hyenas eventually mobbed one of the female lions with Pike, our matriarch, leading the charge. The lioness lunged a bit in response, and the hyenas backed off. The male and the other female lion then took an interest and walk towards the hyenas, scattering them. After gathering their courage, the hyenas approached the male lion, but lost their nerve after getting within 20 meters. In response to all this enthusiasm, the lions sacked out and in the traditional lion manner, pretending the hyenas no longer existed.

The original four hyenas went and sacked out fifty meters from the lions to keep an eye out. I heard lion-hyena interactions are quite thrilling, but was not prepared for the excitement of watching both hyenas and lions sleeping at the same time. Eventually, it became clear that the lions were only there to nap, and the hyenas walked off one by one to do whatever it is hyenas do when we aren’t around to watch them. Needless to say, my first lion-hyena interaction was a memorable one.

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