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      Nature Report 1/13: Clean Up Crew

      It's an unsavory task, but somebody has got to do it.

      When a creature dies in the wildlands a variety of feathered and furred sanitation engineers quickly move in for proper disposal.

      Bull nilgai antelope sometimes fight to the death, and this mature male has come to his final resting place.

      A big bull strides by, giving the carcass a wide berth.

      Perhaps he is the one that mortally wounded the fallen nilgai.

      He keeps his distance and moves off into the brush.

      The first to arrive is a Cara Cara, who swiftly dives off a nearby perch descending onto the corpse.

      For a moment the Cara Cara, or Totache as it is known in deep South Texas, stands triumphantly on the body as if to claim it.

      Nilgai have thick hide, and the initial morsel the Totache devours is the eye, dipping its sharp beak into the orbital cavity.

      After dining for several minutes and exploring the entire carcass the bird moves off.

      It is going to need reinforcements to consume this 600 pound meal.

      For a while, a family of three Cara Cara have sole possession of the carrion, but as darkness approaches they will depart, leaving the meal to nocturnal roamers such as the coyote.

      Morning brings a host of scavengers.

      A herd of wild pigs greedily feast on the kill, and they are joined by both black and turkey vultures.

      The blacks are particularly bold, and for a moment vulture and hog are beak to jowl.

      It takes about a week, but with the help of nature's feathered and furred cleanup crew, little remains of the nilgai.