The fight over territory can become an ugly one at times. And when wild animals clash, you can be sure that there are never 2 winners, there will always be one between the two that pulls the shortest straw.
In December 2019, Vicky Stephenson, a 29-year-old field guide and camp manager, heard strange hyena calls from their camp in Ingwelala, Greater Kruger National Park. It seemed like it was coming from the riverbed. Latestsightings.com asked her to explain the events of that day.
“When we heard the strange hyena calls, we quickly headed off to find out what was going on. Two hyenas were fighting in the river –fighting! One was the attacker and the other one trying to retreat.”
“We were all shocked as it was the first time any of us had seen such a vicious fight between hyenas. It was brutal to watch as the hyena being attacked was already badly injured and looked terrified, exhausted and in pain. We felt obligated to watch though, as this was fascinating, especially being a field guide and never having seen something like this before – although –not pleasant to watch.”
“After about 2 hours of on and off fighting, we saw the attacker and 2 others heading down the road towards the injured hyena, and at that stage, we knew that the hyena would not survive the last fight, so we decided to leave it in peace. We later found out from the office that the hyena had been killed after we left.”
“We sent our footage through to a hyena expert to find out what they thought could have been the reason for such a vicious fight. She explained that the 4 hyenas involved were all males. The young hyena (she could tell by the teeth) being attacked had probably recently left his clan to find another clan to join, as males will do to ensure genetic variation. The 3 males of this territory weren’t happy about it, which is something that happens from time to time.”
“This was the worst hyena fight I have ever seen. Usually, you get the normal scuffle at a kill but never an intense ongoing fight like this one. Even though it’s never pleasant watching any animal in pain, it is nature, which always has a purpose, and if you can stomach it –it’s a sighting you will never forget and probably never get to watch again! So take as much video and photos as possible, because it could be educational to others. “