Most people when thinking of hyena think of scavengers that slink around in the shadows stealing other predator’s leftovers. This sometimes is the case, but more often than not, these predators hunt and kill their own prey. We received a call that a clan of hyena had just pulled down a young zebra and we arrived in the midst of them feeding and fighting over the kill.

It appeared that one of the hyenas that arrived shortly after we did, was not that welcome and the others in the clan quickly singled her out and after a short fight she was left with a gaping hole in her hind leg. This behaviour is relatively typical of hyena… the wound would heal in a few days.

Within minutes there wasn’t much left of the young zebra and what remained was carried off to a nearby waterhole, where it was further dismembered before being carried off to various dens in the area. There were no doubt young hyena waiting at the dens and listening to the commotion, which was incredibly loud during the actual kill.

During such kills it is not uncommon for lions to hear the calls and move in on the off chance of being able to chase the hyena off their kill and take over the carcass. On this occasion, the only lions in the area that we were aware of, was a pride with young cubs who would have been keen to stay as far away from such a large group of hyena as possible.

Half an hour after all the commotion of the kill, with only a dark patch on the grass remaining as evidence of where the kill had been, driving past this area, one would have believed it was a peaceful morning! It just goes to show that timing is everything when it comes to game viewing.