Members with the conservation group Lion Guardians stumbled on a rare site in the Amboseli area of Kenya recently: six hyenas and a number of jackals were attacking and eating a 12-foot-long python.
On their blog at WildlifeDirect, Lion Guardians describe the attack: “[the hyenas and jackals] tore into its body from the back, and were taking their share while the upper part of the python was still alive! The Lion Guardian team was shocked and surprised at the same time, having never seen anything like it before.”
A massive drought through Eastern Africa has taken its toll on both predator and prey. With many large prey animals dying due to the drought, big predators are caught in a lurch, having to seek out new food sources to survive.
Spotted hyena in Kenya. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
According to Lion Guardians, “carnivore starvation in the coming weeks is inevitable. The Amboseli ecosystem has lost over 8 percent of the lion and hyenas’ prey.” While hyenas are turning to pythons—and presumably whatever else they can find—lions are beginning to kill livestock.
Lion Guardians is working with local communities to protect their livestock from lion attacks and in turn save lions from retaliation by locals. Lions are often killed by poison, spear, or gun in revenge for attacks on livestock.
The organization works to mitigate lion-human conflict by working with locals to improve their livestock enclosures, change herding practices, and inform them about lion movements with an early warning system.
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