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A Hard Day's Night
12 x 12

Black-backed jackals work hard for a living. As is the case with many scavengers in Africa, they need to constantly fend off not only the predator defending its kill, but also a myriad of other scavengers. All for some scraps of meat or chunks of bone. Dodging, darting, skulking and lurking are strategies they employ to effectively sneak into a fresh carcass and run out again before getting attacked. We were lucky enough to witness a cheetah kill that had been left to the jackals and vultures. The two species were jostling for rights to what was left. Jackals are a very petite member of the canine family and seemed dwarfed by a large vulture. Pairing up seemed like a more successful way for a couple of jackals to compete with the vultures, but at this carcass, the jackal was left alone. Soon the vultures, which kept flying into the kill one after another, pushed the jackal from the site.

 It was quite fascinating to watch jackals on the fringe of such dramatic scenes. Every now and then we would come across them simply lying out in the open, resting or sleeping. Catching a bit of a break before having to jump into action at a moment’s notice in search of a carcass or to forage for small animals and plants. I find them to be beautiful animals, with their delicate faces and wonderfully contrasted coat, dark above, light below. The title for this piece is a tongue in cheek nod to the Beatles song/album/movie with the same name. Apparently after a grueling day followed by a night concert, Ringo Starr quipped to his bandmates that it had been a “hard day’s night”. The title popped into my head thinking about jackals running around all day and night foraging for bits of food and seemed fitting for this individual trying to get some much needed rest.