HYENAS- Scene of the Kill

We’re in East Africa’s Serengeti plain, listening to sounds from the scene of a kill. Hyenas and lions are competing for a prize catch- the carcass of a fallen wildebeest. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Richard Estes is a behavioral ecologist and the author of several books on African mammals. He made this recording one night while doing field research at the southern edge of the Serengeti Plain.

“In the middle of the night I was waken by the cries of hyenas and lions in the distance and I drove over and found that some forty hyenas were on a wildebeest that was in the water, the stream that flows by my camp. I drove them off and looked closely at the kill and I saw scratches on the neck that looked as though they had been made by lions. And sure enough, within a few minutes of getting there, a large male lion came out of the darkness and chased away all of the hyenas. And then, while it was gone, three female lionesses with cubs, came and took over the kill. And a few minutes later the big male came and chased them away, just as he had chased away the hyenas. Then he took the kill and he ate on it for awhile.”

“You hear the very loud cries of the hyenas when they are on the kill– including a sound that sounds like laughing which gave the spotted hyenas its colloquial name of laughing hyena. Which, actually, these are calls of extreme fear and aggression. And they’re not amused in the least.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

HYENAS- Scene of the Kill

A field biologist in Africa describes the scene of a kill.
Air Date:02/05/1999
Scientist:
Transcript:

We're in East Africa's Serengeti plain, listening to sounds from the scene of a kill. Hyenas and lions are competing for a prize catch- the carcass of a fallen wildebeest. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Richard Estes is a behavioral ecologist and the author of several books on African mammals. He made this recording one night while doing field research at the southern edge of the Serengeti Plain.

"In the middle of the night I was waken by the cries of hyenas and lions in the distance and I drove over and found that some forty hyenas were on a wildebeest that was in the water, the stream that flows by my camp. I drove them off and looked closely at the kill and I saw scratches on the neck that looked as though they had been made by lions. And sure enough, within a few minutes of getting there, a large male lion came out of the darkness and chased away all of the hyenas. And then, while it was gone, three female lionesses with cubs, came and took over the kill. And a few minutes later the big male came and chased them away, just as he had chased away the hyenas. Then he took the kill and he ate on it for awhile."

"You hear the very loud cries of the hyenas when they are on the kill-- including a sound that sounds like laughing which gave the spotted hyenas its colloquial name of laughing hyena. Which, actually, these are calls of extreme fear and aggression. And they're not amused in the least."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.