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This morning's game drive could not have been more action packed. We spent the morning tracking Dawane, a huge male leopard, who had made a kill the day before. We located him eventually, lying in extremely dense spike thorn, just a spot on his back and flick of a tail visible. Good things come to those who wait, so we made the call to sit it out, hoping he would soon move off to feed again on the carcass he had stashed in some bushes just a few hundred meters away.
Luck was on our side, as soon a female hyena popped up over the rocks on the other side of the river bed. She had clearly smelt the carcass and was on a mission. Dawane, lying oblivious under the bushes was soon to get a shock. The hyena dropped down into the river bed to locate the kudu carcass, but Dawane spotted her immediately - he jumped up and headed back to his kill. Off road now with a leopard on one side and hyena on the other, we bumped through the bush, excitement and anticipation rising with the second, all of us eager to see what would happen when these two predators came head to head.
No sooner than when Dawane arrived back at his kill, the hyena shot out of the bushes and gabbed the back end of the kudu. The leopard, with the neck in his jaws lept up the tree, and it was tug of war between the two of them. Neither let off, each holding on for dear life, both as strong and determined as the other. It was the kudu who snapped in the end, the opposite forces so great, it simply tore in two. The leopard shot upwards before he lost anymore of his kill, and the hyena tucked in quickly to his steal, the sound of crunching bones and giggles a sign of his joy.
An incredible sighting, it is not very often you see two such incredibly strong hunters go head to head.
Ulusaba – Bush Telegraph
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