This is the brave moment a herd of buffaloes runs in to save a helpless elephant calf that is being defeated by a pride of hungry lions!
Hospitality expert, Jill Mathew, captured the unpredictable turn of events in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, on the 23rd Jan 2018.
Jill, 63, told LatestSightings.com the full story: “Early on Tuesday morning, my husband, Jim and I, left Punda Maria camp and headed to the almost-dry Klopperfontein Dam. As soon as we arrived, we saw 2 large bull elephants protecting a small baby elephant. There were also buffalo, zebra & impala trying to find the last remains of moisture from the dam.”
“After a while, we unexpectedly noticed a pride of lions sitting on rocks above the dam. They were very well camouflaged in the shade of some trees. From the pride, there was one lioness who was particularly alert and looking for opportunities for a kill. Nothing happened for a long time, so we decided to leave the sighting and return later. Usually, when lions hide by a waterhole, their plan is to hunt whatever comes to drink, so we felt sure a kill was being planned.”
“At 17:15 we arrived back at the waterhole, to find the lions still where we left them earlier. We felt a sense of anticipation, knowing that the lions were strategically positioned for an attack on anything that walks too close. But we also felt a bit confused that the animals down at the water already weren’t of interest to the lions. Finally, we were in shock and disbelief as a baby elephant emerged alone & unprotected, from the bush. The pride of lions ambushed the baby and pounced!”
“Watching all of this happen, our hearts were pumping! The baby elephant was helpless and we were sitting and wondering where the mother was to come and help the poor baby.
From the waterhole, a group of buffaloes heard the commotion and decided to come and investigate. Buffaloes and lions are eternal enemies of the wild, so when they saw the lions, they weren’t happy. The buffaloes decided they wanted the lions out of there and proceeded to chase them away.”
“One by one, all the lions escaped and the little elephant got up and ran for his life. He ran towards the two bull elephants that were near the dam. These two bull elephants didn’t protect the scared baby elephant, the lions noticed this and closed in & attacked again. This time it was unfortunately behind a bush, out of our sight.”
“The bull elephants sounded a loud trumpeting sound, almost showing their heartfelt emotions of loss as they noticed what was happening. My husband and I felt similar heartfelt emotions as the sole witnesses of this sighting.”
“The sighting ended with the large pride of 15-18 lions seizing the baby elephant. We presume that they finally succeeded in killing it…”
“This was extremely rare! We even think it is unrepeatable and was most definitely once in our lifetime!
Leaving this sighting, we would like to give others advice: At any sighting, read the signs that the behavior of the animal portrays and anticipate what is going to happen and be ready to video the entire scene, emotional as it may be. I regret not capturing it all as it was fast-moving and partially obscured by bushes.”
“Lastly, we would like to open a discussion and hear from others regarding answers to the questions of elephant behaviour surrounding this event: Why would this baby have been abandoned? Could it be that the mother was killed by poachers?
Did anyone else hear about /see the sequel to this the following day, as we had to leave and couldn’t return.”