Chiphadzuwa loses her kill. Again!
The first sign there might be a kill nearby was the crocodile up on the road, moving away from the river. With eyes peeled and noses primed we moved onwards with our night drive. The excited call of a hyena was the second sign that something was afoot. As we continued forward we brought the spotlight to search in the distant direction of the hyena’s call. As we continued to approach we could see the orange red light of the hyena’s eyes we were expecting from the earlier call. What we didn’t expect to see was the steady greenish light of a leopard’s eyes right behind it!
We approached carefully and came upon a lone hyena enjoying the little that remained of a Puku. Hissing behind the hyena to the left was Chiphadzuwa. Derek panned the light across to the right and found another leopard! This time a male. It was the new, strong, young male we’ve been seeing in the area this season.
Chiphadzuwa inched little by little towards the hyena, hissing as she went. In a flash the new male dashed in from the opposite direction towards the distracted hyena. Snatching the Puku remains the male leopard raced up the trunk of the nearest tree, where he sat crunching in pleasure.
The video below shows the interaction.
Chiphadzuwa really lost out that night. Not only had she lost her kill, she’d been injured in a fight. She displayed a nasty scratch on her right hind quarters which appeared to be a scratch injury from a leopard’s claws.
As we pulled out of the sighting to make our way home we found yet another leopard on the road. ‘Luambe’ was sitting less than 50m from the action. He had undoubtedly eaten earlier from the same kill, but we suspect he had given way to the younger, stronger male. It is possible we may be reaching the end of Luambe’s reign as one of the territorial males in our area. With his history of killing our leopard cubs we won’t be particularly sad to see him move on…
Our last sighting for the evening, very near Kaingo now, was 4 hyenas on the road – loping towards the sighting we’d just left. They were to be sorely disappointed as the last of the goodies was safely up in the tree with the virile, new, young male.