An age old battle

1 06 2011

Three male lions were out on the hunt. Even though they have firmly established their territory and dominance over a number of prides, they continue to hunt for themselves.
A large herd of buffalo had moved into the area, and as soon as the sun disappeared, the lions headed straight into the herd.
It took a while for the action to start, because buffalo are not an easy target. The males darted in three times, each time unsuccessful. The herd managed to rally around quickly enough to chase the lions off, before they had a firm grip on any of the buffalo. The lions kept trying.
They set up the fourth attempt, and went for it. Again they were outsmarted and out muscled, until they stumbled upon an old male that had been severely injured in a clash with another male buffalo. The injuries he had sustained during the fight were enormous, and he was unable to use his front legs. The lions took two seconds to work out what lay before them, and then made their final assault. The buffalo, in all fairness, never had a chance, but he put up more fight than the lions, or I, expected. We watched the drama unfold for close to forty minutes, and when we left, the old buffalo was still alive, and still fighting!
Once the lions had a firm grip on the old bull, the herd began to muster up the courage to mount a counter offensive. They began to charge in from all directions, over and over. All but one of the lions turned tail and ran. The one male lion, the one with the dark scar on his nose, held on tightly to the muzzle of the buffalo, and wouldn’t let go!
The buffalo’s came within inches of making contact with him, but he stood his ground, and kept to the job at hand. Each time the buffalo retreated to regroup, the other lions would come back and help their brother, only to be chased off again seconds later. The back and forth was fascinating to watch and experience. Photographing the affair was less than easy!
I had to keep an eye on the herd of buffalo, as they were stampeding only one meter from the vehicle, and still try focus on the action, using only a spotlight!
The following morning, the drama was not over. The buffalo had succumbed to his injuries during the night, and the three males had already eaten their fill. They had left the kill for a short time to go drink from the river, and while they were away, a small pride of lions found the buffalo. They thought they had won the lottery, and began to feed. They had managed to get a good amount of meat in their bellies, before the males returned…
The male with the scar on his nose did not take lightly to his hard fought meal being stolen, and came charging in. He caught one of the females, and gave her a light working over, (nothing too serious, just a bit of “how’s your father?”), and went back to his buffalo prize. He had gorged himself the night before, so was not keen on actually eating, he simply sat at the kill, and waited for his digestion to allow him to take a few more mouthfuls!
The lions eventually moved off all together, allowing the patient vultures a chance to get their share of the spoils.

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3 responses

2 06 2011
Zoe Mulholland

Amazing blog Kurt! What an experience! And to photograph it all so beautifully, you are a true talent! Not long now before heading back to the bush!!! Can’t wait!! 🙂

9 06 2011
kurtjaybertels

Thanks Zoe!
Let me know when you touch down in sunny SA and we will see if we can meet up!

20 06 2011
A morning splash about « Kurt Jay Bertels' Blog

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