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Buffalo Mom Sacrifices Herself to Save her Baby from Lions

This buffalo mom tried to rescue her calf that was caught by a pride of lions. While chasing the lions off, they decided to shift focus and caught her instead.

Gavin Brett, a lawyer, and his wife Terry, also a lawyer with a passion for wildlife and sports photography, documented the extraordinary scenes that unfolded during a memorable family trip to Siviti in the Thornybush Game Reserve in South Africa and shared the video with

Gavin tells the story: “My family and I were on a special trip in Siviti, celebrating my dad’s 80th birthday. Our guide Lucas and our tracker Andrew had been showing us the reserve for a few days, and it was a Sunday morning when this incredible drama unfolded.”


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Their adventure began early that day when, at about 6:20 a.m., they came across a large herd of buffalo. With a total of 21 family members from all over the world coming together for the 80th, it was a truly special occasion. Little did they know that the day was about to become unforgettable.

The group decided at 6:40 am to move on to a sighting that was shared over the radio. It was a pride of lions that had been seen the day before, not too far from where they were. At around 6:46 am, three male lions began to move, and the family decided to follow them.

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The lions led Gavin and his family back to where a herd of buffalo were grazing. At 6:53 am, two male lions joined the lionesses that had already been with one male. At this point, they were dangerously close to a buffalo calf.

Gavin explains, “we were already observing the calf when suddenly the lionesses had taken down the calf. During this intense moment, a lion cub had been hiding nearby. As soon as it realized the calf was down, the cub emerged.”

Gavin pulled out his phone and started recording, while his kids and wife started taking photos. Meanwhile, the buffalo herd was not just standing by, they were operating together and devising a plan to rescue the calf. Just like the lions had come together, the buffalo bulls were taking control of the situation, actively going after the lions with the rest of the herd right behind them.

“In particular, the mother buffalo was the one that refused to watch her little calf get eaten. She stood up to the lions with no fear! The war between the bulls and the lions gave just enough time for the calf to escape. A buffalo and lion standoff then ensued, lasting a full 17 minutes. Neither side backing down! The mother of the calf was not willing to let those who tried to bring harm to her baby get away unpunished. Unfortunately, it meant that the lions would shift their focus, and they took down the mother instead.”

This buffalo mother truly showed what a mother’s love can be when she indirectly sacrificed her life for her calf. “I now have a new found respect for buffalo when I saw how they protect each other and their young.”

Written by Mohammed Kathrada

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