By Bunmi Adigun @Bunmi_Adigun
Scroll down for the full story
Videographer / director: Pieter van Wyk
Producer: Bunmi Adigun, Nick Johnson
Editor: Joshua Douglas
Filmed at Mala Mala Game Reserve, South Africa, this wild encounter was snapped by quick thinking game ranger Pieter Van Wyk.
Not for the faint hearted, the footage gives a gruesome glimpse into the realities of animal life in the wild.
Pieter said: “It’s not something one enjoys watching but at the same time it is absolutely captivating. No one could imagine encounters as dramatic as nature enacts each day.”
After tracking a pack of 22 wild dogs he had sighted the day before, Pieter and his safari group recognised two adults from the pack in the middle of the game trail.
Noticing that the wild dogs had their ears pricked and were sniffing the air, the experienced ranger quickly determined that they were on the hunt and proceeded to follow them.
Pieter said: “The adrenaline levels always spike when following these amazing creatures as action soon follows.”
Within moments the dogs caught up to a female bushbuck antelope, which was being chased by the rest of the pack.
In its haste to get away from the predators, the hapless antelope jumped into a mud wallow and became stuck as it struggled to keep its footing.
Surrounded on all sides by wild dogs - one of Africa’s most successful hunters - the unlucky bushbuck could only cry for help.
When out of nowhere, a male hippo seemingly came to the antelope’s rescue and chased away the wild dogs before they could kill the defenceless animal.
Pieter said: “The hippo was alone - we’re currently going through a drought so water is scarce, hence why the hippo was wallowing in a mud pool.”
To everyone’s surprise, the antelope’s hero quickly became a villain and turned on the distressed animal.
Believed to be one of the most aggressive creatures in the animal kingdom the hippo reinforced its deadly reputation by killing the bushbuck in one bite and throwing it to the wild dogs to devour.
Pieter said: “The adults devoured half of the bushbuck in a matter of minutes. Some of the adults then left the scene in order to fetch the puppies who, during a hunt, are always left somewhere safe under the supervision of an adult.”
At first glance it’s easy to think that the hippo’s treatment of the bushbuck was a form of mercy as it was surrounded and stuck in the mud wallow, however Pieter has a different view of the animal’s motive.
He said: “The hippo's initial intent was to save the bushbuck then, after some time had passed and with the pack of wild dogs relentlessly circling, the hippo grew fed up with this invasion of his privacy and ended matters. This is the logical interpretation.”