With the soaring heat and lack of rain the Timbavati landscape has transformed to that of a semi dry oasis. The depleting water resources of dams has caused many animals to go far and wide in search of water and better grazing grounds. One such animal that is in need of water is, the hippo also known as the sea cow. While exploring the Timbavati we noticed that more and more hippos that we normally see in specific dams had moved to different area’s and in particular to the main dam up North, which still has a reasonable amount of water.

Hippos are highly territorial mammals. A male hippo often marks his territory along a riverbank from which to draw in a harem of female hippos, while defending it against other male hippos. On this occasion, a young male hippo, entered the main dam and was challenged by the dominate bull. Although we did not see the battle, we could see the lifeless body of the young hippo on the side of the river bank. The result of the soaring heat had taken another life in the Timbavati!

Although this young bull tragically lost his life trying to search for water, his body has provided other animals with a source of food. As we arrived at the dam the following day, the body was being eaten by a clan of 15+ hyenas whilst a venue of vultures were waiting close by for their chance to get in on the action.