My Spotted Friends

Their thundering calls were already booming across the bushveld when the first hint of dawn was on the horizon. I was about to record the Ground Hornbills when a jackal’s mobbing calls had me change plans. Heading east in the open savannah was easy going with the only cover being little Sida bushes. It was only just getting light, visibility was poor when I saw something running across my path ahead. For some reason my brain imagined it to be a kangaroo like animal. Very embarrassed and not having seen one of my special friends for so long, it was a hyaena! She ran off but when I switched Joanie off she stopped, looked around, then got back to sniffing around. As it was getting light I thought she might bolt if I followed, her but not. She was happy to have me follow. We were on the edge of the mopane as she stared north into it. I got out the car wanting to film her silhouette against the dawn light. At first she didn’t see I was out the car, but when she did her curiosity go the better of her and she approached. Yay… I was back in the land of my most special friends. She didn’t come too close and walked by happy I wasn’t a threat. Jackals were going crazy mobbing something to the north-east. She was keen and back in Joanie, I followed her. But she didn’t go straight to the calls, she did a wide circle and then into a thicket of Sickle bush. The worst for punctures. Deep in the thicket was another hyaena tucking into an impala carcass. They both fed frantically as only hyaenas can, swallowing chunks of meat at a time. The jackals were still going crazy but further into the thicket. They weren’t shouting at the hyaenas.
The hyaenas took the carcass deeper into the thicket. I just couldn’t follow. The jackals stopped shouting and came to feed on the scraps left by the hyaenas. There was some intense growling coming from where the hyaenas had gone. They must have stolen the kill from a leopard, which was now trying to retrieve its prize but the hyaenas would no doubt have held tight. Soon it was all over. Well what I could see was all over. It was quiet. The hyaenas had taken the kill and would no doubt have finished it between them. The leopard and jackals would be picking up the scraps. And that’s life. Never easy…



  1. I just watched a documentary about your wildlife with your spotted friend. It’s a stunning piece. You are such a brave human who can connect any creatures with people. I am also a TV producer that I have been to lots of war zones such as Libya, Somalia, and Syria. But nothing can compare what you did in your unique movie. So I left my message here for showing my respect to you!

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