This was the heartbreaking moment a male lion ends an alpha female wild dog’s reign – as she horrifically takes one for the team. This sighting happened in the Sabi Sands in the Greater Kruger.
Lions are known to be the dominators in the African animal kingdom. Their behavior has testified to this time and again and they will always remain as such. Lions are highly territorial and will do whatever it takes to protect their territories, including the elimination of any competitors in the process. Kill or be killed – sadly, but realistically this is the rule of thumb in the wild, and this male lion has proved exactly this.
“We were observing a pride of lions lying around being typical ‘flat-cats’. At once each of the lions sat up and focused their attention in the same direction. I told my driver & tracker something is about to happen. Within an instant, these cats stood up and started walking with absolute focus and determination in the same direction.”
“I told my team to follow them – since lions don’t behave like this unless something serious has caught their attention. Once they reached the long grass, the lionesses split away from the male and started flanking.”
“The male lion stood there looking really proud with his prize.”
“We were trying to decide who to follow – when I heard a pitiful yelp from a wild dog coming from the male lion’s direction. Exhilarated, I exclaimed, “Get there now!” As we arrived on the scene, the male lion stood up with the alpha female wild dog in his mouth. A minute or so later he crouched down and crushed the dog’s skull. He then stood up, and walked off without another glance at the dog.”
“We then heard that one of the lionesses had also killed a younger wild dog and within seconds, 20% of the wild dog pack was obliterated. Later that evening we were told a large male leopard had moved in and hoisted the wild dog carcass up in a tree.”
“What makes this even rarer is the fact that it was the pride male who killed the alpha female.”
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“In all my years in the bush photographing wildlife, I have never witnessed a lion killing a wild dog. I highly doubt that I will ever witness such an event in my life again. It is so crucial to always listen to the bush and watch for signs. Always check your camera settings throughout the day as the light changes. Mother Nature waits for no one – so always be ready.”