No wildebeest ever wants to be the one who’s caught, the one that is a little slower than all the others… It does have to happen though, and when it does, the queue forms quickly at the dinner table.
Out on a morning safari, I came across a male lion, finishing off what his pride had started sometime in the night. A large male wildebeest had been taken down and mostly devoured before sunrise. The male lion, with his belly bulging, was making every effort to eat as much as he could. He was forcing down chunks of meat, but had clearly reached his huge capacity.
Not long after I arrived at the scene, a tawny eagle started flying overhead, seeing the available scraps with hungry eyes. The lion took little notice, and carried on gnawing away. What the lion didn’t notice was that a side-striped jackal had also seen the eagle circling above the kill, and came to investigate. He cleverly stayed just out of sight, watching the lion from a safe distance, waiting his turn…
The lion eventually accepted defeat, and moved off to get a drink of water. He had not yet been gone for a minute, when the eagle dropped down, and tried his first bite of the unlucky wildebeest. He only managed to try however, as the jackal wasted no time reminding the eagle of the appropriate pecking order. The jackal chased off the eagle, and fed as fast as he could, fully expecting the lion to return at any second. The jackal lost his nerve quite quickly though, and beat a hasty retreat into the nearby bushes, allowing the eagle a second stab at the kill.
All this commotion only added to the guest list. The bigger vultures started arriving en mass. The white backed vultures led the charge, with the smaller hooded vultures right in amongst them. They took their time sussing out the situation, which gave the now popular eagle enough time to get a few good mouthfuls in, before he was again chased off, for the final time.
It didn’t take the vultures long to clean up what little remained of the wildebeest, and when the lion returned from his drink he found a few scattered bones, and some satisfied vultures.