Currently the lowveld area of South Africa or better known as the Kruger National Park area, is experiencing one of the worst droughts to hit the area in possibly the last 25 years!
Of course there has been some rain and currently the bush is alive and green but we are still waiting for the drought to officially break. Nowhere near enough rain has fallen for us to claim this. However much of the damage has been done already. We have found numerous carcasses around the bush, some have been found without any sign of predation but most have been the result of lions. No other species has felt this as badly as the buffalo population in the Timbavati. On one occasion myself and my tracker found a dead buffalo and upon close insepction we found tracks for 2 lioness around it. The strange thing was that hardly any of it had been eaten and the lions were gone. Around 50 meters away we found another buffalo carcass with nothing eaten at all and to round it all off a further 50m away lay another one, however this one still had 2 lioness lying around it. Once again they had hardly had a bite and whats more is they left the area all together later that day. This was just one afternoon. Many other scenes of this nature have been found over the last few months. It would seem as if the lions were just killing on demand. We amounted this to the fact that due to the drought the buffalo were so weak and ill that instead of being their usual deadly selves they were quickly turning into something the lions could dispatch without much effort. This went hand in hand with the fact that they most probably didn't taste very good due to the lack of vegetation to feed on and so the lions where seemingly of the mind set of not bothering to eat very much of one kill as it was very easy to just kill another. It has been a very interesting time to witness the behavior of predators. Even the hyenas have had to much to eat recently and some carcasses have gone completely unattended by mammalian carnivors. It is thus completely true that the only type of animals to truly flurish during a drought are those of carnivorous inclinations. Currently there is enough vegetation in the environment to support those that are still alive and the buffalo are looking for more deadly again however if the bush does not start getting some good rain soon, I fear the cycle will only continue to repeat itself. Very interesting times.