I was on an afternoon game drive with my guests when I saw a Side-Striped Jackal dragging an impala carcass across a dusty floodplain close to Okuti - He hadn’t made the kill but there was still a lot left of the impala for him to scavenge on. As the jackal was about to enjoy his meal, we saw a kettle of Lappet-faced vultures gathering and circling above, they had spotted the carcass and were ready to drop down for the feed.
Vultures can fly as high as a Cessna 206 aeroplane, they have an acute sense of smell and extraordinary vision which is why they moved in on this carcass as quickly as they did. One by one the vultures started dropping besides the Jackal, it was only a matter of seconds before they were going to over-power him. Eventually the Jackal admitted defeat and walked off slowly, perhaps it wasn’t his lucky day after all.
Vultures play a vital part in the eco-system as they clean the environment of decomposing carcasses and as a result eliminate lingering bacteria such as anthrax. They are perfectly adapted to this function with their eyesight and sense of smell as mentioned above, their strong beaks and extremely corrosive stomach acids which can break down rotten meat.
Blog story and images by Salani (Professional guide at Okuti)