In America, golfers in Florida are used to seeing and avoiding alligators on the course. If you golf in Arizona, you might also encounter a javelina pig or two. But golfing is a different ball game at the Skukuza Golf Club in South Africa.
A group of golfers at the South African course had their game interrupted on Dec. 15 when a massive eagle attacked and killed a baby impala right there on the golf course "between holes five and eight," reported Lowvelder on its TikTok page. Here's what you need to know about the situation and martial eagles.
Golfers captured a martial eagle killing a baby impala on a golf course.
Numerous videos on social media channels like Facebook and TikTok show a martial eagle standing on top of its fresh kill, an unfortunate baby impala. “Unreal,” said one golfer who videotaped the scene. Another video shows the eagle pulling the impala carcass under a tree and seemingly out of the way of golfers looking to play through.
“We did not see how the eagle caught his prey, but it was a very special sighting and it was the first time in 33 years that I have experienced something like this,” greenskeeper Jean Rossouw told Lowvelder.
It’s not unusual for wild animals to walk the grounds of the Skukuza Golf Club, located within Kruger National Park in South Africa, near the Mozambique border. According to the club’s website, there are no fences to keep lions, hippos, baboons, impalas, and other wildlife off the greens. However, it’s rare for the animals to be on the course during the day, reports For The Win.
Impalas are commonly seen in Kruger National Park, according to the park website. The deer-like animals typically stay close together in herds to protect themselves from predators.
While martial eagles are native to Africa, they aren’t seen often in Kruger National Park. Martial eagles are also listed as Endangered in Kenya, where organizations like The Peregrine Fund have been working to conserve the creature from the devastating effects of habitat loss. Ranchers are also known to lace livestock carcasses with poison to kill them or shoot at them.
Do martial eagles usually prey on baby impalas?
Yes, a martial eagle's diet does include baby impalas. Per Kruger National Park, the apex predators will hunt and kill mammals like antelope, baby warthogs, monkeys, hyraxes, and even lion cubs.
In 2019, researchers from the University of Cape Town used Google Images to track the diet of martial eagles using photos. The research further revealed that reptiles are an important part of martial eagle's diets!
Martial eagles are one of the world's largest, most powerful birds of prey, per The Peregrine Fund. Their wingspan can reach up to six feet, and their eyesight is so good they can spot their prey over three miles away.
Let's hope the next time a martial eagle chows down, it won't be in the middle of a golf game.