This unsuspecting bateleur eagle thought it was so lucky to have an impala all to itself when he was suddenly disturbed by a group of vultures and 2 male lions!
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27-year-old Nadav Ossendryver, founder of LatestSightings.com, was fortunate enough to have the best seat in the house for this epic sighting. He shared his footage and story with LatestSightings.com.
His mid-morning drive took him to the Bravo Loop just east of Skukuza, where he was fortunate enough to spot a pack of wild dogs lazing in the shade on the hot summer morning. Not much action here, he thought, but little did he know that the real thrill was waiting for him just around the corner.
As he made his way back towards Echo Loop, he was met with a sad sight. There, lying by the side of the road, was a lifeless impala, and atop it was a juvenile bateleur eagle. Bateleurs are the lowest flying eagles, due to their feather structure making them very heavy. So, they are often the first to arrive at a fresh kill after being the ones to spot them first. Vultures then wait on the lookout for bateleurs and other eagles descending onto a kill to locate where there might be food.
In his mind, he couldn’t help but think, “This place has lots of lions around. Lions tend to check out when vultures descend in the masses, meaning they’ve found something to eat. So, if a bunch of vultures land here, nearby lions might come over to see what’s going on.” And so he patiently waited, his camera poised and ready.
As if on cue, a group of vultures appeared, circling overhead, and descending towards the impala. The excitement in the air was indescribable. Then, suddenly, all the vultures paused and looked to one side. Was this going to be exactly what he predicted would happen?
Nadav’s heart raced. He silently wished, “Please don’t be a hyena.” And his wish came true, just as he thought it would. A young male lion emerged, initially running past the impala, only to double back and carry the entire carcass in its jaws. Moments later, another, larger male lion joined the scene, chasing the first lion of his stolen prize and claimed it for himself.
Understanding how animals behave in the wild can be very beneficial. As was the case with Nadav, having a little knowledge about how things work changed his sighting from an eagle eating to two male lions. So, it pays to learn a little before going on safari.