Buffalo carnage

Pamushana | December 2019

We left the lodge on an afternoon drive to see what we could see, no particular agenda. By the time we got to the airstrip, I got a radio call from our lion tracking unit about a lion sighting in the Lojaan area. The lions were feeding on two buffalo. On hearing this our interests were peaked… Lions on one buffalo, that’s great but two buffalos, what was that all about? On the way to the site there was much discussion between my guests, Mavuto (my tracker) and I, as to how the buffalos may have died. There were so many different scenarios but all were just theories until we were on site to make a more informed decision about what had happened.

On our way there we came across a group of giraffe towering over the vegetation in the sand forests of the hills. It didn’t take us long to work out that these giraffes were worried about something in the bush (they were all looking in one direction). The area was very thick and we could not find a way in with our vehicle, so we walked in, very quietly, to investigate the matter. We didn’t go far before Mavuto saw a lone male lion fast asleep under the shade of a green pod mahogany tree. He was one of the two males from the pride we were on our way to go and see, and he was so full! After watching him for a while we continued on to see the rest of his pride near Lojaan.

On our arrival there, we saw the other big male sleeping next to one carcass. From our position it was not easy to see much in the way of evidence, to figure out what had happened to the buffalo (had it been killed by the lions or some other reason). As we drove on further we saw the next buffalo, this one was much closer to the road and in a much better position for us to assess it. As we did so we were able to see puncture wounds around the neck of the buffalo, and it looked like the buffalo had been strangulated by the lions.

The two dead buffalos were both adult females, and the area they were in was a narrow valley. There was evidence to suggest that an entire herd moved through that corridor, quite a sizable herd. It was the ideal position for the lions to cause chaos in the herd, get the buffalos running frantically through the small space and grabbing a buffalo, or two in this case.

Watching lions killing a single buffalo is impressive, as we sat and watched the lions around their kill we marvelled at what it would have been like to witness them killing two buffalos.

As always, sitting patiently, were loads of vultures waiting their turn to eat. As it turned out they would not have to wait that long, as two days later the lions had left the kills, and with them leaving the area an additional buffalo was found making the grand total of three buffalos killed on one area…

Amazing!

A mother and calf white rhino tried to navigate the corridor where the lions and buffalo carcasses were, and after much deliberating walked boldly past the lions chasing them from their satiated positions.