A day in Pilanesberg: Hour 2

We pick up our recollections of our day trip through Pilanesberg National Park at the the junction of Kwalata Road and Mankwe Way which was, on the 28th of August 2020, the scene of a deadly battle between two elephant bulls. Sadly Mavuso – a dominant bull that was brought to Pilanesberg National Park from the Kruger National Park back in 1999 and estimated to be around the mid-50’s in age – was killed in the fight. We were fortunate to have seen the gentle giant during a previous visit in November 2018.

Pilanesberg’s late tusker Mavuso, seen in November 2018

Mavuso’s massive carcass has been a magnet for scavengers since the unfortunate end to the fight, and it is amazing to think that even now six weeks later there’s still ample carrion available to attract the attention of black-backed jackals and brown hyenas. Apart from quickly popping in at the Fish Eagle Picnic Site for a body-break and a freshly made mug of coffee we spend almost an hour at the carcass watching the fascinating interaction between the scavengers. The pictures are gory, but trust me when I say that the smell is even more so!

If youโ€™d like to follow along as we explore the Pilanesberg, a map may come in handy (for a large format version click here)

Kwalata to Fish Eagle and back

If you need to catch up on our drive through the Pilanesberg National Park, you can read yesterday’s post covering the stretch from Kwa Maritane Gate to Kwalata Road here.

To be continued tomorrow.

25 thoughts on “A day in Pilanesberg: Hour 2

  1. naturebackin

    Very sad about Mavuso’s death. Is it known if he and/or the younger elephant were in musth at the time of the fight?
    It must have been fascinating – if smelly – to watch the jackals and the brown hyena at the carcass.

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      1. naturebackin

        Thanks for the info. In the meantime I watched some of the video footage of the fight. Very traumatic at the end. And then after the body had been moved, the groups of elephants coming forward apparently paying their respects.

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        1. de Wets Wild Post author

          Elephants are far more intelligent than humans want to give them credit for, I believe. To me there’s no denying that there’s a profound sense of loss when they gather around a fallen individual, and who would not see intent in the way that winning bull drove home his victory over Mavuso?

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  2. Pingback: A day in Pilanesberg: Hour 3 | de Wets Wild

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      We’ve had by far our best sightings of Brown Hyenas on Tuesday, Anne, and thrilled at it – now I finally have enough photos to illustrate a post about these rarely seen creatures too. There are still a few more photographs of them on the way in days ahead.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      That’s exactly one of the things Joubert and I were discussing while at this scene on Tuesday, Janet. How everything is designed to fit in perfectly. And sadly how humans muddle it up when we get involved…

      We don’t often share photos of the Brown Hyena here, they’re much rarer than the Spotted Hyena we usually share photos of. I hope your daughter likes them as much!

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  3. H.J. for avian101

    I think the stench must be almost unbearable with that size animal’s rotting. I’m surprised not to see any vultures! Thanks, D. ๐Ÿ™‚

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