We came upon an amazing sight in the Kruger one day. A large group of cars were all parked and very close to the rest camp. That usually means a leopard sighting and so naturally we went to take a look. Sure enough, a large male leopard was up a tree with an impala carcass. He was not eating, however, but sleeping in a very awkward position and we could not see much of him at all. We stayed for a little while but seeing his position and how much meat was on the fresh carcass I was sure he would wake up and eat in a while.

I drove away and 4 hours later upon returning heard the low whooping call of a hyena. When we got to the tree we saw there were now 2 leopards in the tree. The male had dragged the carcass higher and his mate was in a lower branch waiting her turn. She kept looking down anxiously and that is when we saw a hyena under the tree. Leopard kills are smelled out by hyenas and despite the fact that they are out of reach, leopards are very uncomfortable with their presence. The young female kept looking around and the hyena kept whooping.

Sure enough in 10 minutes there were 8 hyenas all around the base of the tree. Hyena calls are heard by them for very long distances and they range far and wide for a meal. These hyenas were settling down for a relaxed wait. The female was getting frantic as she climbed higher and tried to access the meal. The male was not sharing. He just sat and ate and completely ignored everyone. The hyenas just went to sleep/rest mode. Energy conservation is the first law of the jungle. Ha! It was getting on to lunchtime so we left. In the afternoon nothing had changed except the female had given up trying to eat and was no ready to make a break for it but did not want to run the gauntlet with the hyenas. She had come down to a low branch and just sat there waiting. The male grandly ignored everyone as he had been doing. Greedy fellow.