March 2022

A patience game

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A patience game

Bernard Hosea
By Bernard Hosea
Field Guide

It was a lovely morning as we headed out on safari with guests from Serengeti House. The mission was to find a cheetah, but Mother Nature had some dramatic action in store. I spotted a large breeding herd of buffaloes around Sasakwa plains. They were staring at a clan of three hyenas… I drove nearby and realized a stillborn calf was on the ground and the mother was trying to protect it from the scavengers.

After a short while the whole herd grouped together and chased the hyenas away, but it didn't work. Hyenas are extremely patient and waited for so long while battling with buffaloes to get the calf. Eventually the herd gave up and left the mother of the calf struggling alone to fight for her dead calf. Eventually she also gave up and left, and the hyenas took over and consumed it completely.

Vultures, eagles and jackals also joined the feeding frenzy, by picking the little pieces of leftovers. We also experienced the symbiotic relationship of commensalism between buffaloes and white cattle egrets. As the buffaloes were chasing the hyenas so many insects were flushed from the grass and the cattle egrets benefitted by catching the fleeing insects.