Friday, May 25, 2007

Amboseli III

One evening around 6pm in Amboseli we came across a dead zebra who had died suddenly. There were no circling vultures and no predators nearby so the death had to be very recent. According to my guide, the most likely cause was a puff adder (snake) bite. I would have loved to be able to get out of the car and investigate to verify this, but you can't get out of the vehicle in a National Park. In any event we returned to the scene early the next morning to find a lion pride of 10 lions had finished off the zebra. Nearby, in a circle around the lions, were about 25 hyena, waiting their turn. They may have been chased off by the lions to begin with. There were also a jackal and a vulture waiting in line.

The lions left very little - only the spine and skull - not even any skin, let alone any meat. The second the lions began to move off, the hyenas swarmed in, but quickly realized there was little to fight over. Above is a shot of a few members of the hyena pack around the leftover spine. The sounds of the hyena fighting over what was left were awesome to hear. The lions were also interesting, as it was the first time I had seen mane-less male lions. Amboslei is near Tsavo, so likely they migrated over from that park, where they have been known to be mane-less for a long time.

In drainage culverts under the road, I found hyena dens with pups. One had three pups and another a loner. Since they were so close to the road, you could lean out the window and look directly down on them, less than two feet above them. I enjoyed spending time with them and thought their eyes looked remarkably puppy-like. A close up of the loner pup is above.

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