30 year old professional field guide, Christof Schoeman, caught this action on film in the Manyeleti Game Reserve, Greater Kruger National Park at Tintswalo Safari Lodge.
LatestSightings.com was told of this great encounter: “One of the lionesses was leading her cubs towards the young buffalo which the other lioness had immobilized and kept alive for the cubs. It’s always a dramatic occasion when you stumble across predators doing what they do best! It was such a privilege to watch a sighting like this unfold, but some might not be able to stomach it, it’s not for the faint-hearted.
We already knew that this pride of lions, known as the Nharhu pride, consisting of 3 lionesses with their ten 6-month old cubs, were in the area. We decided to head towards that area and relocate them.
It was late in the afternoon when we approached the area. A dust cloud was hanging overhead. The first thing that came to mind was that the lionesses might be having a stand-off with a herd of buffalo, hence the dust in the air. We settled into the sighting waiting for the action to start from an elevated position in the distance. It wasn’t long and the herd of buffalo rumbled off into the closest thicket. We waited for the dust to settle to see if the lionesses managed to bring one down. As the air cleared, we noticed that the lionesses had indeed captured a buffalo, but a very young one, anything between 8-10 months old. We also noticed that the big cats were simply holding onto the buffalo and not killing it. One of the lionesses then moved off towards the dam wall where the cubs were tucked away.
With contact calls from the mother, the cubs appeared from the other side of the dam wall. She led them towards the buffalo and that’s when the real action started to happen. It was heartbreaking for the young buffalo, but quite comical to watch the young lions learn the art of killing. Every now and then, one of the mothers would perform a maneuver where they use their deadly claws to grab hold of the hind neck and wrap those massive jaws around the buffalo’s throat, then let go. This was simply to show and teach the cubs, for them to be able to mimic the same behavior. This went on until sunset and just before darkness set in. Miraculously they kept the buffalo alive for about an hour when we left, so we weren’t sure how long the ‘school of the hunt was on for.
I felt sorry for the prey, but I knew how crucial it is for the predators to get protein and gain energy in order to survive the harsh elements of an open ecosystem. I also teach my guests this, so that they could have a better understanding of what they are witnessing and why it’s so important.
I also give them an opportunity to decide if they want to witness the ordeal or move out. It is a special and a very rare sighting. Luckily for us in the Manyeleti Game Reserve, we see these encounters quite often for the simple reason of high lion and buffalo numbers that we find in this 24000-hectare prestigious piece of land!”