David Scarola

Camera: Sony a7riv

Lens: 200-600mm

Aperture: F/11

Shutter speed: 1/1000

ISO: 800

Description: Savage Feeding Frenzy at Governor’s Crossing

Story from behind the lens: That actual hippopotamus was my favorite animal in Kenya. The 30 to 40 dinosaur sized crocodiles turned the hippos bedding zone, this section of the Masai River into a killing and savage feasting zone. About 100 zebra, topi, and wildebeest crossed this famous section of the river (known as Governors Crossing) and the crocs managed to prey on about 5 of them. In all I think there were 20 hippos present, massive in size to infant. As the spectacle of the crocodile feasting unfolded over a 4 or 5 hour period the hippopotamus became increasingly unnerved. With absolute resolve this one particular hippopotamus repeatedly disrupted the feasting, breaking apart the large ferocious grouping of crocs. It was both a sacred scene of the circle of life and a ferocious frenzy, the way these crocs feasted… it was mesmerizing. The hippo literally marched right into the mix, stepping on and biting the tails of crocs that at the largest must have measured 20 feet in length and jaw-dropping girth. The hippo chased them away one by one, absolutely making certain they scattered. The luck of catching the giant catfish was just a matter of the fact the crocs stirred up the mucky river bottom and the catfish had to escape. And then, as this particular scene somewhat completed and the crocs regrouped slightly down river, the hippo stood proudly as a lone bird came up and landed on its back, actually frightening it, causing it to visibly and audibly tremble. The hippo got angry, shook wildly, and went after the bird. To our amazement, the bird stood its ground. This was July 30, our second to last game drive. I have beautiful photos of the hippo and the bird squaring off, but this one shot depicts the scene quite nicely.