Nature’s Cleaners: Vulture and Hyena

When one visits Kruger Park in South Africa, the biggest expectation is a kill. Lion, leopard, or cheetah catching and eating their pray, however, once this event is over and the cats leave, then the cleaners come in to finish the carcass off, and I came across such a scene when I recently visited the Kruger Park.

Vultures and hyenas do nature a great service. They are created to withstand disease and therefore stop outbreaks of plague spread from carrion which could ravage the park and decrease the number of wildlife in a very short time.

As can be seen in the images beneath, the hyenas and vultures are breaking down the leftovers of a buffalo. The hyenas have incredibly strong jaws which they use to chew bone and pull off the skin which at this stage is tough and dried. They grind and chew at every possible piece of matter left on the skeleton. The vultures do an amazing job of picking out the remaining meat between the bones.

It is a grisly sight, but as I have explained it is necessary for the cleaners to clean up the environment. In a little while, there will be nothing left and smaller creatures like beetles, ants, and worms will also join in the feast.

“Vultures are homely, but they clean up all the garbage and that’s good. And they’re elegant in the sky.” ~ Roger Tory Peterson

“God must’ve had a blast painting the stripes on the zebra, hanging the stars in the sky, putting the gold in the sunset. What creativity! Stretching the neck of the giraffe, putting the flutter in the mockingbird’s wings, planting the giggle in the hyena. And then, as a finale to a brilliant performance, He made a human who had the unique honour to bear the stamp, In His Image.” ~ Max Lucado.

These images are available in a higher resolution.

©️Copyright Caroline Street Art/Poetry/Photography

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