This is the awesome scene when a herd of buffalo closes ranks on a pride of eight hungry lionesses and rescues a stricken older bull from certain death.
When the pride closed in, the buffalo moved the calves behind them and brought up their big males, weighing up to 900kgs, to form a defensive wall.
Having retreated from the grassy savannah to high ground, they seemed out of danger but one older male buffalo could not scale the steep bank to safety.
One hind leg was left dangling and the lionesses sensed a bigger meal than just a calf and circled in for the kill, with one leaping up onto its haunches.
But the “buffalo soldiers” were having none of it and charged, again and again, to protect their elderly herd member, forcing the lionesses to keep retreating.
Eventually, the buffalo was able to regain its footing and scale the bank and turn round and face its tormentors who finally realized there would be no kill today.
The buffalo is one of the most dangerous animals in South Africa with the bovine beast with its huge horns known as a “boss” killing over 200 people a year.
The sighting was captured by game ranger Pieter van Wyk at the exclusive MalaMala Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger Park whilst on a drive with guests.
(Pieter van Wyk – Film-maker, left. Nadav Ossendryver – Latest Sightings founder, right)
Pieter, 35, said: “The lionesses had come down to a riverbed when they met a large pride of lionesses who were hungry and on the hunt for a kill to feed on.
“The lionesses surprised and grabbed a young calf but although it was pinned down, before they could kill it, the mother and male members of the herd chased it off.
“The baby had a lucky escape and survived but as the herd retreated into the safety of the bush. One of the older members of the herd got stock on the steep bank.
“It was a sitting duck, unable to defend itself and the lionesses knew that and they moved in for the kill, being watched by younger cubs of the pride.
“But the male buffalo were not going to give up on their herd member and charged the lionesses, again and again, until they gave up on having it for lunch.
“It was an extremely captivating and adrenaline-pumping sighting and one of my best,” said the father-of-two who works on the 33000 acre Big 5 game reserve.
The buffalo is a prized trophy for big game hunters who, apart from humans, its only predators are lions and crocodiles. They can stand at up to 5ft 6in in height.
But this time the Kings of the Jungle came off second best to the Buffalo Soldiers…