Leopards and hyenas are infamous enemies and when these two species cross paths there is a good chance that an action-packed exchange will take place. One evening in December, guides Adas Anthony and Saitoti Ole Kuwai were watching two leopards in separate trees not far away from one another – the Raho male and a skittish female. These two leopards had no connection with each other apart from the fact that they happened to be close by. A sighting like this is extremely special in itself, but even more was to come. The Raho male had the remains of a kill with him in the tree, belly-full from what he had already eaten. The female also had a full belly, but the onlookers did not see a kill in her tree. They assumed it had fallen below, but dusk had descended and it was too dark to see anything on the ground. Not much later a hyena showed up. He soon confirmed the assumptions when his incredible sense of smell led him directly under the tree where the female leopard was perched, and he picked up a half-eaten impala carcass.
This month I witnessed how predators are so incredibly good at assessing a situation, weighing up the potential benefits of a hunt and analysing the potential costs or risks at the same time.
We set off under the cover of darkness in the early morning and on to one of my favourite drainage lines to look for lions. As it began to get light I caught site of the Butamtam lionesses and their youngsters. We gently approached the lionesses and then switched the engine off and watched. One of the more mature lionesses, the daughter of ‘Mama Scar’, was busy nursing her five youngsters. This is interesting as lionesses only possess four teats.
I was out one morning looking for elephants as my guests were still hoping for further interaction with these special creatures. What we came across that day, we could not have prepared for – it was simply magical.